One of Winter Park’s newest downtown stores is a modern take on a classic concept — a reinterpretation of an old favorite.
New General combines a general store offering a broad range of products with a café that serves coffee and small plates from their location at 155 E. New England Ave. in Winter Park.
The shelves of New General hold everything from honey and handbags to clothing and cactus plants.
Co-owner Tracy Liffey said the mission is to offer a wide variety of items — but only of the highest quality.
“It’s a modern twist on a general store,” Liffey said. “It’s broad in categories, but narrow in selection. We’re taking on the responsibility to kind of curate some more classic minimalist pieces from what we believe are some of the best brands. Quality is the most important aspect. … We’re trying to take that guess work out for the customers.”
Many of the brands carried by New General are local, as well. The store stocks bags, wallets and notebooks from Makr, based in Winter Park, and cactus plants from Florida Cactus, based in Apopka.
That local support shows itself in the New General café as well, which uses kombucha from Humble Bumble Kombucha in Orlando, coffee from Lineage Coffee Roasting in Orlando and chocolate for their mocha beverages from Peterbrooke Chocolatier just down the street on Park Avenue.
“We’re trying to stay seasonal, local and fresh,” co-owner Christine Mitchell said. “Everything here is made in-house, except for some for the items we source from Buttermilk (a bakery based out of Winter Park).”
The concept of New General began to take shape when Liffey and Mitchell met through their children going to school together at Park Maitland School five years ago. Liffey had a background in retail, while Mitchell came with experience in the restaurant business. The partners decided to meld the two together into something that would synergize with Winter Park businesses and the community.
“Our vision is that it’s kind of a hub for the community,” Liffey said. “Drink some coffee, have some seasonal fresh food and be able to shop.”
Liffey and Mitchell take pride in the care they use to vet their selection of products. They have sifted through countless brands of honey, coffee, clothing and kitchenware to find the right products for their shelves.
“We’ve tried more skin care in the last six months than I probably have in the last 10 years, just to find the right ones,” Liffey said. “We’ve done our homework in terms of product categories. And we’re continuing, because it constantly evolves. We’re forever in search for the next great quality pieces that people want to add and keep forever.”