Celebrating the grand re-opening of the Equinunk General Store

For decades, the Equinunk General Store stood tall at the crossroads comprised of the Hancock Highway, Lordville, Pine Mill and Wallerville Roads.

It was a friendly place for folks to gather, grab a cup of coffee, pick up the mail, maybe even exchange of bit of harmless gossip.

Sadly, this Northern Wayne County landmark closed its doors last fall, leaving a tangible void in the community … just the latest blow for an area that's seen more than its fair share of tough times.

However, over the course of the past month or so, a group of local folks have ridden to the rescue.

Led by the indefatigable Jutta Bishop, the Equinunk General Store has risen from the ashes and promises to be even better than it was before.

New Adventure

Jutta Bishop hails from Philadelphia, but she moved to Wayne County several years ago and has fallen in love with both the people and the area.

Jutta attended Goshen Central Schools and then moved on to Philadelphia College of Art. During the course of her professional career, she worked extensively in the fields of design and architecture.

Her first local business venture came in antiques when she opened up the “Interior Works Gallery” on Main Street in Honesdale.

Now, after seven years, she's taking on a brand new challenge. After hearing that it was closing for good back in October, Jutta decided to resurrect the Equinunk General Store.

And, she didn't just go halfway with this decision. She's all-in, folks!

Jutta not only bought the business, she also purchased a house and re-located her entire life to this quaint little town … making Equinunk the focal point of her existence.

She and her dedicated band of helpers strode into the store a little over a month ago. They worked tirelessly to clean, update and renovate … and their efforts are already paying big dividends.

“I'm so happy with how everything's gone,” she said. “The people here are just wonderful. They've welcomed us with open arms and I couldn't be more grateful.”

First Impressions

I've visited the Equinunk area many times during the course of my career at The Weekly Almanac and The Wayne Independent.

It's always been one of my favorite destinations.

I've eaten lunch at the General Store, quaffed an adult beverage or two at the Equinunk Inn, written about covered dish dinners at the United Methodist Church, and eaten far too much at the Pine Mill Community Hall's legendary Sunday breakfasts.

So, it was with a light heart that I jumped in my mighty Kia and headed out for my latest visit.

The sun was out, the skies were a brilliant blue and temperatures soared into the middle 60s. It took me about 30 minutes from Honesdale, but I enjoyed every minute of the drive.

Spring was beginning to bust out on all sides. Animals were out and about, pastures were greening up and nearly all traces of snow had vanished.

The first indication that things were going well came as I arrived on the scene and couldn't find a parking place!

That problem quickly resolved itself, though, so I grabbed my notebook, camera and phone and headed on in...

Perfect Setting

The moment you walk in the door at the Equinunk General Store, it's as if you've passed through a portal to a simpler time.

The gentle jingling of a bell and creaking of the old hardwood floor announces your arrival.

Jutta greets you with a smile from behind the counter. The air is alive with savory scents … everything from homemade pies, quiches and cakes to freshly-brewed coffee.

Here, you're given the chance to slow down, take a deep breath and embrace the present moment.

You can browse among Jutta's collection of antiques and collectibles. Savor that coffee. Grab a local paper, sit down at the lunch counter and chat with friends old and new.

“We want everyone to feel welcome,” Jutta said. “That's our main goal. We are trying to bring the best of the whole area right here to Equinunk.”

This new version of the store has countless things to recommend it … everything from Black & Brass coffee to Calkins Creamery cheese, Shemanski's Maple Syrup to Alpine Meats.

Debby Pollak mans the lunch counter. She's a bright, smiling presence amid the controlled chaos of the deli area.

Debby was bouncing happily from customer to customer, taking orders and listening to requests.

There wasn't an empty stool on “grand opening day” … at least not during my visit. And, the counter itself was overflowing with mouth-watering homemade goodies.

Timothy Wilson and his lovely wife Patti were among the patrons.

One of the nicest and friendliest couples you're likely to meet occupied the corner stools. Well, perhaps more accurately: Tim was holding court, regaling the crowd with one funny story after another, while poor Patti was trying valiantly to rein him in!

“Real men absolutely do eat quiche!” he said with a devil-may-care grin while shoveling in another heaping fork-full … as Debby beamed and Patti rolled her eyes.

Come and Visit!

The Equinunk General Store will be open year-round, five days per week (Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday; 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

During the peak season, though, which is Memorial Day to Labor Day, hours expand. The store will be open seven days per week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Please carve out some time in your busy schedule to drive on out and pay a visit. We're witnessing the re-birth of a Northern Wayne County tradition ... one that I hope continues for many years to come!