M. Crow General Store

Lostine, Oregon | C.1907

Photo Credit: Sara Bates

You enter the M. Crow General Store, and you know those were different times. Established in 1907 by the Crow family in Lostine, Oregon, it was the one place in town where you could get your staples – milk and eggs, clothes, hardware supplies and housewares. The General Store was the place where you could generally find anything you needed.

Before the days of online shopping, even before malls, the General Store was a lifeline for smaller communities. Often operating on a credit system, farmers and the like would purchase their basic needs from a store like M. Crow and pay when the crop came in, likely selling their harvest there as well. Thus the General Store also served as a gathering place for farmers, artisans and other locals just the same – the entire community connected through their local store.

Just as essential as these stores were in the early 20th century, they weren’t so much by the 21st. Modern conveniences like big box stores drove out small family-owned businesses. After operating for 100 years M. Crow itself was at the threat of being closed, but thankfully world-renowned furniture maker Tyler Hays stepped in to save it. Having grown up in the area, Hays felt a connection to the store and the ethos of local craftsmanship and decided to make it his newest outpost after his stores in New York and Philadelphia.

But this doesn’t mean that much has changed – there’s still a little bit of everything to be found at M. Crow. Hays installed a modern  kitchen where pizza and tacos are served, as well as a radio station that specializes in vinyl records. Alongside apples and eggs, you’ll find denim that was made from scratch and beer that was brewed in tiny batches in the back of the shop. While it’s not exactly the same as it used to be, it’s generally general in the same way it was a century ago.

Written By: Chris Gilson

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