A festive farewell in Van Zandt
What: Everybody's Store
Where: 5465 Potter Rd., Deming
WHEN: 8am-8pm daily through December
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
“I’ve never had to wait for a parking spot here before,” my bearded tour guide growled as we idled behind a pickup truck parked beside Everybody’s Store last Saturday morning. “It gets busy here in the hinterlands once in a while—but nothing like this.”
“This” referred to the throng of people that had flocked to the longtime grocery/everything store in Van Zandt that has been a staple in the food desert of the foothills since Jeff and Amy Margolis first opened their doors in 1970, selling everything from spices to high-octane cheese, sandwiches, local and organic produce, baked goods, wine, kitchenware, pipes, prayer flags, jewelry, musical instruments, a plethora of Bigfoot merch, books about the Pacific Northwest, and far beyond.
It was clear we weren’t the only ones who had heard last week’s news that, after nearly 50 years in business, Everybody’s Store is liquidating its merchandise through December in advance of closing up shop. When we made our way inside the former gas station, we found a crowd of people paying their respects to the storied space—and also picking up sandwiches, ice cream cones for their kids, landjager links, pickles and an assortment of unique gifts.
As we waited for our own bread-and-meat concoctions to be prepared, we heard countless people give heartfelt thanks for years of serving the community to Amy Margolis, who was ringing up sales at the counter, requesting “more cheese!” to be moved into the display case, and generally transforming what could’ve been a claustrophobic cluster of humanity into what appeared to be a festive farewell.
We’d filled out the order form for our sandwiches soon after inserting ourselves into this merry mix, and the longer-than-usual wait for our lunchtime repast—smoked turkey with gouda on garlic cheese hero bread for me, pastrami with Swiss on sourdough for him—meant my guide had time to share details about his past experiences at Everybody’s Store.
“I used to swing into Van Zandt to order up a couple of these monsters before reporting for trail duty,” he said of the oversized sandwiches. “They’d typically feed me for at least a few meals. Sometimes, though, I’d just hang out for a while and eat here, soaking up the good vibes and jawing with the locals.”
In a missive sent out last week, Jeff Margolis acknowledged that he and Amy will “sorely miss schmoozing with the countless number of generous patrons who have provided the joy of of face-to-face relationships for generations,” while noting that “all shows have their finale.”
He also pointed out that the remote locale of Everybody’s Store provided its share of business challenges, but these were incidental to the couple’s primary goal of raising of a family on a homestead in the country and doing what was in their power to generate “social capital, community and personhood” in their small world.
“We could never have put together such an eclectic general store were it not for the creativity of hard-working staff who invariably made for the most cordial customer service found anywhere,” he added.
He was right. Even during the rush of Saturday sales, the team moved effortlessly among crowded aisles and lines to help customers, stock more cheese and other assorted foodstuffs, point out the going-out-of-business discounts—and eventually sell a couple of sandwiches, sweets and a bottle of wine to our party of two.
As we loaded up our trunk with the fare for a December picnic, I couldn’t help notice that the “normal”-sized sandwiches were indeed gargantuan, and quipped their girth would come in handy if we were to get lost on the trail we’d soon be traversing.
“That’s typical of what can always be found at Everybody’s Store,” he replied. “Well, at least for now.”
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