It’s not uncommon for some businesses to have a dual mission statement. However, there’s one business in Jackson that has the rather unique challenge of being a revenue-generating retail outlet and a museum exhibit.
The General Store has been a part of the Small Town Mississippi exhibit, a mock-up of a typical Mississippi community of the 1800s, at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum for the past 15 years. Since its inception, the store has been operated as a place for cultural discovery and a retail store — in that order. That priority has not changed. But now the store is looking to increase its retail presence while maintaining its primary purpose of public education.
“The main reason The General Store is here is to be a museum exhibit, and that hasn’t changed,” said Don Jefcoat, retail sales clerk-senior, who has been employed at the store since 1995. “Our mission has always been to be an exhibit, with some retailing catered to children and museum visitors. In November 1997, however, the Museum Foundation organized a museum/store committee, and it was this committee that promulgated the recent changes to The General Store with the goal of increasing revenues, which are put back into the museum.”