Visit Washington’s Oldest General Store

Founded in 1885, Jack’s Country Store maintains a unique array of merchandise for those who dare to say 'Bet you don’t have …'

| September 12, 2008

Four years before Washington became a state, in 1885, Jack’s Country Store opened, and it has withstood the test of time to claim the title of “Washington’s Oldest Store.” A few steps inside the place, with its extensive inventory, are all it takes to convince skeptics that this general store is the real article. Few examples of this traditional American all-purpose retail store remain today.

Located in Ocean Park, Jack’s has expanded numerous times over the years, but it has not abandoned old-time store fixtures and appointments, such as a stained glass ceiling, wood floors, rolling shopkeepers tracks ladders and massive oak showcases. The store’s staff prints and distributes a catalog and maintains a Web site chock full of uncommon items.

The merchandise array is impressive by any standard and covers a full grocery selection that features fresh local seafood and specialty meats (many of which are smoked in-house), to kitchen tools, RV parts, sporting goods, and the one of the best hardware selections in the western United States, together with everything in between.

Superlatives are necessary to describe some of the store’s lines of merchandise. Jack’s has the world’s most comprehensive line of genuine Aladdin mantle-type kerosene lamps. It also has the absolute best selection of American-made cast iron cooking utensils. Jack’s is the country’s largest seller of electric food smokers. Even the array of marshmallow forks is impressive enough to warrant rating by the Wall Street Journal.

Throughout the store you will encounter uncommon items such as hand-crank popcorn makers, graniteware pots and pans, “strike anywhere” kitchen matches, high quality wooden kitchen utensils, copper ware, ice cream makers, and campfire pie irons. Old-fashioned toys are plentiful, as are Radio Flyer products, pedal cars and Breyer animals. 

Don’t forget to look up. The store covers half an acre and is absolutely filled with merchandise. Even the ceilings are used for display of items like tin signs, flags and wind socks. High shelves around the perimeter are packed with everything from galvanized tubs to sundials.

12/3/2010 12:01:16 AM

Jack's may not have everything, but they sure have a lot of good stuff. I know that is not quantitative, but a huge variety from copper canning kettles to radio flyer wagons and clam guns made from aluminum, stainless steel, or PVC. A real country store, and online too.

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