JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Since about a year ago, co-owners Lora and Brad Eshbach have worked for the day when they could finally see smiling customers in the general store they’ve always dreamed about.
On Saturday, “The Generalist” opened its doors.
“My husband and I have been thinking about this a long time with really the community in mind,” Lora Eshbach said.
The community has sorely missed a staple. Over 100 years ago, Masengill’s department store opened in the space. Following its closing, the building has sat empty for the past few years.
“We are one of many in this community that’s made this happen, so just a big thank you to everybody involved,” Lora Eshbach said.
Eshbach said the project is more than about just opening their own business. It’s also about supporting dozens more.
“A big mission of ‘The Generalist’ is to help other businesses grow along with us, so when you support us as a small business, you’re actually supporting more than 35 local businesses,” Lora Eshbach said.
Family member Bailey Eshbach is one of the local artists that houses work in the store.
“I used to mostly just sell online, or on Etsy, or on Instagram, or something so to see people come in and be like, ‘oh look, I recognize your things,’ it’s pretty cool,” Bailey Eshbach said.
Like many others, Bailey lives downtown. A location like this gives her a place to go for essentials within walking distance.
“I have a place where I can come down and be like, ‘oh, I need some Cheetos,’ ‘oh I need a fancy drink,’ quick groceries are super accessible now to people who live downtown which is nice.”
“People are excited to spend more time downtown,” Lora Eshbach said. “That brings us a lot of joy.”