It’s so familiar you may not have even noticed – but Landis General Store is back on the block at 142 N. Larchmont Blvd.
The General Store, which was an offspring of the original Landis Department Store owned by Bob Landis in the early part of the 20th century, was opened in 1990 by co-owners Christine Wolfus and Edie Frere to sell all kinds of necessities: office and school supplies, sewing and craft goods, gift cards and wrap, housewares and limited clothing. They expanded to open a second store in 1992, and then a third (now Landis Gifts & Stationery) a few years later. In 2006 Wolfus and Frere decided to divide the stores into three separate entities and by 2009, the next generation of retailer came on the the scene: Devoney Wolfus, daughter of Christine Wolfus. Devoney opened Landis Labyrinth in 2009, and a second toy store a year later. She has now taken on a third: Landis General Store.
“Our whole staff had a lot of fun bringing my mom’s General Store back to life,” Wolfus told the Larchmont Buzz. “Everyone dressed ready to get their hands dirty. I changed the flooring to be more rustic, we painted, put up new slat walls, changed the lighting fixtures so they weren’t the same blinding spot lights, my boyfriend built our check-out counter and I did the facing of it from the pallets our shipments come on. I wanted the shop to feel welcoming hence the softer lighting, more homey feeling.”
Devoney says she still “picks her mom’s brain” about the various lines she used to carry, and it will be a full-family affair soon when Devoney travels with her mom and dad, along with business partner Timothy Corrigan, back east for the New York Gift Show in January. “I think she is more excited than she lets on about going back to the [trade] shows,” Devoney shared about her mom. Christine Wolfus has traveled a lot since her retirement, but the familiarity of the gift shows holds a special appeal.
The back room of Landis General is now stocked with arts and crafts kits and supplies, while the front of the shop purveys gifts, housewares, pajamas and slippers, wrapping paper and greeting cards.
With the old General Store sign pulled out of storage, cleaned-up and re-hung, it’s nice to see Landis General Store again under the familiar green awning, and close to its “cousins” on the block: Landis Gifts & Stationery run by Edie Frere, and the two Landis Labyrinth Toy Stores.
Editor’s Note: This story has been edited since first published to include the Co-Owner Edie Frere’s history with Landis General Store.