Ten Questions with Serena Mitnik-Miller, Co-Founder of General Store
This week we get together with Serena Mitnik-Miller for our Ten Questions series. Serena and Mason St. Peter are the owners of this fabulous shop in San Francisco titled the General Store.
It’s a collaborative store that features carefully curated items from both new and vintage sources. Holding a mix of crafted products, from furniture, clothing, plants, and lots of other knick knacks. “A little bit of everything useful!”.
Read on below.
1) General Store seems to have a really original concept. Could you explain to our readers how it all began?
Honestly it all happened really organically. A store front opened up a few blocks away from where we live and our friends encouraged us to do something with it so we started brainstorming what the neighborhood needed. We quickly realized we were lacking quite a few essentials, specifically a great place to shop, so General Store was born.
2) Do you have any sort of background in retail or design?
Yes. I worked at Mollusk Surf Shop for almost 5 years and I came from a creative background and I dabble in painting, photography, sculpture and design. But without my husband Mason who is an Architect and Artist, General Store would not exist.
3) Would you say it’s hard to source the items that you want to stock in your store? I know you usually pick more crafted items that are both vintage and new.
Sometimes. You really have to be proactive and go out there and explore. So many amazing people and designs are really quite literally, “two blocks away” there are other items that I am still searching for.
4) I’m particularly fond of the interior and the whole aesthetic that you guys possess. Do any particular designers or creatives inspire you?
The interior of General Store our physical response to the space. We literally pealed away layer after layer until the bare bones were exposed. The only thing we planned before we started was the circle. The materials were chosen by what was available at the time. I scoured re-use yards for old wood and filled the blanks with new. Our inspiration list is long and varied, Neutra, Gordon Matta-Clark, Le Corbusier, Blinky Palermo, J.B. Blunk and old barns.
5) How hard is it to fill a store with products that you like and not necessarily follow a theme in terms of strictly clothing, or strictly furniture. You guys offer an array of well made items. Have you found it hard for customers to pick up on this?
It’s definitely not hard to fill. It kinda like a puzzle figuring out what fits. And Yes, we still get questions like “what is this place” or “what do you sell?”.
6) What would you say is a stand out item that’s in the store at this moment in time?
That’s a hard question. Each item is chosen to be the best of its kind, but I would l have to say I am particularly fond of the Beatrice Valenzuela shoes and the Berg Lamp.
7) We know that you’re based in San Francisco, what are the positives of being situated there?
We are part of a coastal community that reminds me of my small home town while enjoying the perks of a big city.
8) I know plenty of people who want to start a store or who want to start making their own products. What advice would you give them?
Do it. Make it yours. I am always encouraging people to make things.
9) What lessons have you learnt since starting the General Store?
Opening a store really puts everything into perspective, you learn a lot about your self and what you are capable of. I discovered that a diamond bit grinder creates a beautiful finish on cement floors, only wasted two weeks on my hands and knees scrapping tar and tiles by hand. We learned a lot about our friends and the community that supports us, and most of all once you open and the ball is rolling you have just to go with it!
10) Any final words?
Thank you for supporting what we do!
To see more from our Ten Questions series, visit this page.