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Re-storing Redstone charm — it's a family affair

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A regretful thing happened in March 2020. After roughly 70 years of serving up provisions, the Redstone General Store temporarily went dark. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before a partnership between Oriana Bier-Moebius, who was raised in the Crystal Valley, and manager Rochelle Norwood set out to re-store the magic.

Far more than just a store, it is a community staple, inviting neighbors and visitors alike to partake in its charming and inclusive atmosphere. Jeff Bier, Oriana’s father, is a coal miner turned realtor who was the agent for the store’s last five transitions, including this latest one.

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Bier-Moebius told The Sopris Sun last year that some of her earliest memories include visiting the General Store. “Redstone was the community we went to because it was closer than Carbondale,” she said. “When we made a few coins as kids we’d come down here and buy a treat.”

Now approaching one year since reopening, the iconic building, Redstone’s post office until 1950, is glistening with Christmas lights and glowing like a treasure trove. 

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The store’s latest incarnation remains faithful to all the things that people have come to love about it: friendly service, delicious beverages, jars of old fashioned candy, hilarious and sometimes lewd holiday cards and, of course, plenty of ice cream to be dished out. Notably, the store’s new management makes a serious effort to procure as many items locally as possible. The store is replete with Amber Sparkles art, Wild Mountain Seeds packets, locally-crafted herbal remedies, specialty meade, Bonfire roasted coffee, Pura Simple skin products, regional vegetables, eggs, dairy and more, all helping to sustain small businesses in the Roaring Fork, Crystal and North Fork valleys. There’s also Redstone General Store merchandise, like t-shirts and stickers, making use of a stylish new logo designed by Crystal Valley artist Dustin Eli.

Additionally, Bier-Moebius and Norwood support distant community-building initiatives. Norwood’s international connections make available colorful clothing sewn by her, using African fabrics with proceeds benefiting Africana Village of Peace Project. This sustainable arts village keeps Ghanian culture alive with drumming, dance and other traditional practices. Norwood discovered the initiative while traveling abroad to study African dance. She later helped purchase the land in Ghana to give the project a home.

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The store is also graced with photography prints and beadwork benefitting “Women of the White Buffalo,” a documentary about Native women directed by Deborah Anderson, and residents of Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

There’s also a good deal of survival equipment available at the store, from folding shovels to warm clothing, falsa blankets, first-aid supplies, maps and other gear. “You could live off the store. We live off the store,” said Norwood, who runs the business with help from her 11-year-old daughter Ruby and mother, Gina Tassinari.

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“Coloradans, in general, are hearty, healthy folks,” said Tassinari. She came to Redstone by way of Northern California to help out as the business was just taking off. Inevitably, Tassinari became enchanted by the hamlet and friendly people stopping by. “It’s a sweet little village,” she said. “A great community.”

She loves for people to leave feeling renewed and hopeful, accomplishing this with generous servings and, recently, a giving program where people can “pay it forward” with a meal for a stranger through the purchase of a “giving spoon” donation. With many folks wishing to donate to the store, Norwood initiated this program to keep the reciprocity flowing.

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Asked whether she imagined she would run a store like this, Norwood enthusiastically replied, “I used to play store when I was little, taking cans out and stocking them. I definitely always thought I was going to do this!”

Her favorite part is baking in the kitchen. Even though it means starting some days extra early, “It’s my meditation to bake,” she said. “I put everything else aside.”

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Asked about what’s needed to keep up the momentum, she informed us, “We would love some volunteers. It’s a big endeavor. We’re always processing fresh food.”

In particular, the store is interested in recruiting the right volunteer to be a greeter/community ambassador, sitting on the front porch during the busy months to answer visitors’ questions. That way, the folks cooking meals, manning the cash register and serving coffee and ice cream can keep the lines moving.

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“It takes a lot of interacting with people,” said Tassinari, “and we want to keep it positive.”

“It’s so beautiful, and it’s beyond us,” added Norwood. “We’re stewarding something bigger than us, evolving with the store’s needs.”

Thankfully for Redstone, the family is setting their roots down in the community, building a house on the boulevard, with commitment to keep the warmth of the General Store radiating throughout Redstone and beyond.

“I feel really proud of them,” said Olivia Tassinari, Rochelle’s sister visiting from Japan. “They’ve created a place everybody loves.”

The Redstone General Store is open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. serving breakfast, lunch and love.

Tags: #Africana Village of Peace Project #Gina Tassinari #Oriana Bier-Moebius #Redstone General Store #Rochelle Norwood #Women of the White Buffalo
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