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Saturday: 10am - 4pm

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219 S. Fourth Street

Danville, KY 40422

Phone: 859-936-5522

email: jrs@kywimax.com

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About Junior's General Store

New Danville store has a New York City feel

By TRACY HANEY
thaney@amnews.com

Walking into Jr's General Store on Main Street in Danville feels more like walking into a trendy gift shop in New York City's SOHO or West Village - and that's exactly how co-owner and manager Kelly Miller envisioned it.

"We wanted to have a little bit of an edge," Miller said. "A taste of New York is how we like to think of it."

Miller is no stranger to the Big Apple. He lived there for five years until his job brought him to Danville where he's lived a little more than a year.

A former Gucci employee, Miller has always wanted to open his own store, and got serious about the idea this summer.

"It seemed to just kind of fall in place," Miller said.

With the help of co-owners Tim Robbins and Bennie and George Thompson, Miller, whose nickname is Junior, was able to open shop Sept. 30. The store sells everything from Christmas decorations to custom dog beds. Miller said the most important part of selecting merchandise - much of which he gets by going to market in Chicago - is that it be trendy.

"I thought what we wanted to do is be really current," Miller said. "So, you open a magazine and see Oprah's favorite thing and we want to have that before she says it (is her favorite thing)."

Miller and the other owners have even tried to incorporate current trends into the decor of the store. The idea of wooden benches stacked to form shelves was plucked from the pages of a Martha Stewart magazine and recreated to use for holding merchandise. The black and white checkered floor and teal curtains with brown polka dots also give the store an eclectic look that might be more common in bigger cities.

So far, the community has responded positively to the little New York shop nestled among the businesses on Main Street, Miller said.

"We're already getting regulars," Miller said. "Our goal was to really wow people. And without sounding egocentric, I think we achieved that."

They've even toyed with a tagline for the store - "Where life is pretty." But at an affordable cost.

He pushes affordability

Miller pushes affordability because he appreciates that when he shops.

"I want quality. I want current. I want all that. But I want affordability. And that's me as a consumer," he said.

Everything at Jr's General Store ranges in price from about $2.99 to $250.

The most popular item, Miller said, is a rocking chair made from real tree branches. Another unique piece is a picture frame with a famous Irish blessing written across it.

Jr's General Store also carries items by area crafts people, including Elva Fields Jewelry.

"All four of us believe in local business," Miller said. "We thought things that promoted town are important."

That's why Jr's General Store became part of the Thursday Night Live initiative, where downtown stores stay open longer on Thursday nights to allow customers the opportunity to shop locally.

"Living in New York, I guess you appreciate community more," said Miller, who also is involved with area philanthropic organizations such as CASA at Woodlawn and the Central Kentucky Cancer Program. "I think people that live here are good people, and to be a part of that is a blessing."

So how is the former New Yorker liking small-town life in Danville?

"Although I'm not from here, it feels like home," Miller said. "I'm excited to live here."

When he goes to New York now, he feels more "like a visitor who knows all the secrets" than a misplaced resident.

"I was a New Yorker; now I'm a Danvillian," Miller said. "Same life - smaller scale."

For more information on Jr's General Store, call (859) 936-5522, e-mail jrs@kywimax.com or visit www.juniorsgeneralstore.com.

Copyright:The Advocate-Messenger 2006