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The Scents of a General Store

Ignite your senses…. evoke memories… embrace your emotions… be seduced. Perhaps this sounds like a marketing campaign for a new fragrance? Could this fragrance be coined from Woodstock's own general store: FHG for him - strong, reliant, savvy, woodsy…FHG for her – intelligent, worldly, feminine, independent? The creation of a bottled scent for F.H. Gillingham & Sons, Vermont’s oldest same family run general store? Follow us through the truest sensory experience you will ever embark on!

You are either blessed to live in our beautiful village or fortunate to be a New England traveler. The next time you arrive at our doorstep, train your mind, spirit, and senses to experience our store in a new way. Instead of just shopping our aisles, take the time to awaken your senses to what we enjoy on a day-to-day basis. Smell, touch, and listen to what our Vermont general store has to say. Ready?

Three steps, and the door gently opens to a friendly greeting by one or more of our employees (we call them family). Behold the wooden floor permeating with an indescribable combination of 130 years of liveliness. Soon after, a waft of worldly spices envelopes you warmly: oregano is prominent, so is fennel, and maybe a little pepper. Look overhead, and you’ll see some old crates – vessels that housed flour and grains during our early years. Breathe in deeply, as you approach what may be our signature scent: the coffee area! A coffee grinder is ready to service your preference for that perfect cup. We often laugh amongst ourselves, as we mimic Meer cats at the mere sound of the coffee being ground – the aroma thrills us!

Look at the beautiful J.K. Adams cutting boards – run your hands across their smoothness, marvel at the grains – you must have one. Turn right and enjoy the fresh and colorful display of our local farm and native produce. Those luscious strawberries are begging for a dip in freshly whipped cream! Did you say cheese? We take pride in our offerings, showcasing Billings Farm cheddars, nearby artisanal favorites, and true Vermont offerings. Take some, get a good cracker, wine – and you’re good for the day. Who today really makes their own peanut butter? Churn a sample or week’s supply from our organic peanuts. Look right and enjoy it with some carrot sticks. This scent will bring you back to recess and snack time. Take in the goods in our cold storage areas: ice cream, decadent cakes, macaroons, meals on-the-go, ice for your outdoor gathering, a six-pack of your favorite cold craft beer, fruity, old-fashioned, crisp fizzy beverages, Vermont pure water, and more. Don’t forget milk in a bottle – there’s nothing like a cold glass with our Gillingham’s Gingersnaps!

The Barn area of Gillingham’s appears next. Leather bags, with their richness, tease your sense of smell, and desire. Fire starters tickle your nose next – reminding you of summer camp and friendships. For the outdoor enthusiast a glass and wood case of knives glistens nearby. Mrs. Meyers home keeping and cleaners soon tantalize you. Revel in the basil, lemon verbena, and geranium bouquets. Is that a corn broom hanging on the wall? Remember your grandmother, in her apron, sweeping the porch, constantly, using this as an excuse to keep an eye on you? Bird houses, pet food, catnip, dog biscuits appear with their earthiness – you can almost hear birds chirping if you try hard enough. Come back, oh wait, is that an elevator – study the well-oiled pulley system. Enter through our fire safe door – shiny, heavy, and protective, segue into our Toy Room, beer and wine area. Our antique service desk with its weathered wood and antique lantern overhead murmurs the stories of our ancestors.

Travel back to the front of the store, bypassing the stairway to our offices and stock room. Do you smell dinner? No, that’s just our employees enjoying their lunch and breaks. Most of them are foodies you know. Daylight next reintroduces you to the areas you first entered. Lavender, Patchouli, Lemongrass stops you in your tracks. Mom would love some goat milk soap from Almost Edible Soaps. Turn again, and oh my goodness, you become teary at the sight of penny candy jars – black licorice was grandpa’s favorite! Look ahead to the left, beeswax candles await you – the perfect little gift for a special teacher.

At this particular point, you may feel a little melancholy. Not for long, though. Chocolate and ginger switch your senses to happiness again. You’re at the checkout, hopefully with treasures from your childhood, and gifts that stirred your senses. You turn and look at our store one more time - silently promising yourself to return, soon. We thank you and wish you safe travels. Until we meet again…




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