Local artist reinvigorates Belfountain’s general store

December 14, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

The Belfountain General Store is getting a new makeover under new ownership, becoming a unique, one of a kind general store.

Built in 1888, the store certainty has a rich history to it, and under owner and local artists Lisa Young, the store has been renamed The Common Good. 

“I’ve known this building since I was eight years old, actually,” said the new owner, who has been at the helm since May. “I think each one of these establishments has to be articulated to the owner’s vision.”

She looks to provide a cozy place for both  local folk and travelers, acknowledging that she can’t compete with big grocery and bulk food stores, but that was never the plan. Part of the new ownership is that the store will be open in the winter. “It’s going to be an exercise in getting people to be aware that it is open during the winter.”

Ms. Young, who trained at OCAD University and the Art Institute of Chicago, brings several new aspects to the store; particularly a co-work space upstairs, yoga classes, and the garage will be transformed into an art gallery. “This is truly a community space.”

She adds there is a section for books, and outside provides a little free library, which she says “is so successful.”

Baked goods are freshly made, and things like syrup, soaps, coffee and lattes are home or locally made. “I’m really trying to reach the locals. I want it to be a space that people will come and know they can get something that actually they’re going to have a hard time finding anywhere else.”

Ms. Young notes long-time customers who have come in for ice cream voiced their pleasure at the store’s new-found feel and innovation.

She notes that her belief for a business model in a small community is based on support rather than competition. “Together actually we’re a lot better. When we’re together we draw more liveliness and people. And locals feel more welcome to engage.”

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