Ted Reinstein shares thoughts about his book on General Stores

Staff photo by Katherine Glosser Hunt Community resident, Gloria, waits Tuesday as author Ted Reinstein signs her newly purchased book.

NASHUA – A book presentation about general stores intrigued Hunt Community residents on Tuesday, as journalist and author Ted Reinstein discussed his work – New England’s General Stores: Exploring an American Classic.

Dozens of Hunt Community residents attended the event with food and refreshments. His presentation explored the history of New England general stores and explored their roles in the community. Reinstein said general stores have played an important role in communities.

“I think that the sense of community is important everywhere – it’s a universal need,” Reinstein said.

According to Reinstein, most people spend the majority of their lives in three places: their home, their work, and community. He said everyone going to that third place has some intention of human interaction.

Historically, he said, general stores have been a place where community members congregate. He explored their history and roles from more than a century ago to the present.

When exploring the individuality of general stores, Reinstein talked about going into a store called Dan and Whits, comparing the store to a corn maze.

When asking the audience members if they ever got lost in a corn maze, a few people raised their hands.

Another story he mentioned that made audience members laugh was a remark about a general store that sold wedding gowns, guns and beer, among many other items.

“It is the only general store in the world that sells gowns, guns and beer,” Reinstein said before showing a picture of a newly wedded couple outside the store.

Hunt resident Bill Drury said the event was worthwhile. He said he grew up near one of the stores Reinstein discussed, W.E. Pierce groceries, and knew the woman who ran the store, Marjorie Pierce.

“I enjoyed it a great deal,” Drury added.

Hunt home resident, Gloria, who declined to provide her last name, said the presentation brought up a lot of nostalgic feelings and captured her interest.

“It was just awesome and very interesting,” Gloria said.

Reinstein said he has always been fascinated with general stores. The idea of writing the book came from his wife, who did some research and said not many books were written about general stores.

Reinstein said he hoped more people would realize the importance of general stores.

“I think it’s important to realize these community gathering places are vulnerable and they disappear without public support,” he said.

“You do what you can if you feel strongly about something. Everybody can do little bits that they can … it doesn’t hurt the cause of supporting these places,” Reinstein said.