A new addition to the independent shopping scene in Marchmont.
In recent months, I’ve been finding myself (whisper it) getting even more excited about homeware than fashion. Blame it on my thrifting bug, and the relative ease – and purse-friendly appeal – of stockpiling vintage china (they’re for when I open my shop, honest) compared to finding quality vintage clothing; or moving into a lovely flat (that’s not student digs or a wee box in London) to really make our own. Either way, increasingly I’m drawn to homeware bits and bobs, Homes & Antiques, interior design shows… you get the picture. So I was more than a little excited when I saw a new spot opening in Marchmont: the Century General Store.
The concept of the ‘general store’ is one that sadly seems to have fallen out of fashion until recently, with the corner shop dominating the market in local convenience – but it’s just not the same. Fine for your pint of milk, chocolate and magazine fix maybe, but what happened to the good old practical variety of the general store? Home to random but actually useful things you don’t know you need yet, the general store is a community hub that – with all the talk of shopping local, eating local, buying local – ought to be more prolific than it is.
That’s exactly what the newly opened Century General Store is aiming to achieve, championing local products for the local community – they even deliver locally. They sell everything from fresh bread (from Dough Re Mi), milk (from Yester Farm), pastries and homemade cakes (by Glutteny) to homewares, plants and gifts (too many names to mention!). Located just off the main thoroughfare of Marchmont Road, at the top of Marchmont Crescent (number 100 to be precise – befitting their name) they couldn’t be better placed to corner the market of students, young professionals and families in the South Edinburgh locale.
Everything Century General Store stocks is carefully selected with tenement life in mind – practical and attractive, functional and fashionable. Variety is key: from buttons to twine, kirby grips to enamelware, cards to straw bike baskets, it’s so fun just to explore and see what you’ll find tucked away in there – things you didn’t know you wanted. What’s more, everything is reasonably priced so even if your detour for supplies on the way home results in a certain impulse purchase (the paper straws got me, I confess) it’s not too much damage done.
The stock is constantly evolving too, meaning there’s always something new to discover in the gorgeous, tardis-like wee shop (seriously, when can I move in? Those tiles, that cornicing…). They also post day-to-day updates of what’s new in store via their excellent Instagram account too. Fresh strawberries from Fife? Blooms from Pyrus Flowers? The latest issue of Oh Comely magazine (via Analogue Books)? Yes please to all three! I challenge you not to get homeware envy from their feed (or hungry for that matter).
The name suggests a retro-loving appeal, which also comes through in the branding and vintage-inspired theme to much of their stock – with that vital modern twist (great if you love mid-century style), but also emphasises that Stephen and team are in it for the long haul. Marchmont has a strong tradition of independent traders (Margiotta, Peter Green), some have come and gone over the years but the Century General Store is a real family business with a heart and already seems to fit right in with the local furniture.
With the tempting baskets filled with homemade cakes (gluten free!), aroma of freshly ground Steampunk coffee, scent of herbs from the Secret Herb garden (more on that very soon) and colourful displays, walking into the store is a feast for the senses. I’ve had to steal myself from going in all the time, otherwise I will spend a small fortune on pastel coloured twine and rhubarb. I thoroughly recommend a visit if you’re near – just a hop, skip and a jump from the Meadows.
Have you got a general store? What’s your favourite local shop?