Generally Modern – G’s General Store in Sonoma

A nod of whimsy at G's General Store in Sonoma.

The bag of gummies in G’s General Store aren’t bears, but rather caterpillars. The charming raffia dollhouse from Madagascar moonlights as a storage bin for toys. Pillows call out advice: “Be Nice or Leave”; “Make Yourself Proud.”

And who knew felt could be so spectacular and stylish, used for everything from folding shopping baskets to trivets shaped like leaves? This is most definitely not your granny’s general store — more like Marimekko meets grownup toy emporium.

G’s General Store in Sonoma is the magnum opus of Virginia Hayes, aka Gigi. A former buyer for the likes of Smith & Hawken and Williams-Sonoma, Hayes traveled the world to source products, knowing one day she would have her own store. She fell in love with Sonoma and a lovely 1800s former mercantile building on the Plaza, and opened her shop there in November 2014.

While G’s is a nod to the general stores of her youth, Hayes has created a decidedly modern, edited take on one-stop shopping, where functionality dances a two-step with whimsy. The shop is organized by rooms of the house, with all the themes starting with the letter “G,” as in Glamour, Gourmet Galley, Goodies, Greet and Gather.

“I was inspired by the shops in Sweden and Denmark,” Hayes said. “They were clean, organized, bright and happy places to shop.”