Sam Cone holding a prize-winning radish

 

Image: Dani Cone

THEY SAY ALL GOOD THINGS must come to an end, but the turn-of-the-century Seattle general store Cone & Steiner recently got its second wind. In 1915, a Jewish immigrant named Sam Cone moved to Seattle and opened a corner store with his brother-in-law, Sam Steiner. The original Cone & Steiner, located in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, was a one-stop shop for groceries, meats, and supplies. It was also a place for neighbors to learn about local news and events and build community.

Almost a century later, Cone’s great-granddaughter and owner of Fuel Coffee, Dani Cone, reinvented the family business. “Primarily, we believe that concept of the corner store is one that just doesn’t go out of style,” Cone says. “Long before coffee shops and coworking spaces, people would gather at the corner store not just for basic provisions, but as a community place, like a neighborhood touchstone.”

Cone re-established Cone & Steiner General Store on Capitol Hill in 2014 and has since opened two more locations in Pioneer Square and downtown Seattle. She pays tribute to original elements of her great-grandfather’s shop, like with a new sign, which was adapted from Sam’s hand-painted design. However, Cone updated the market to sell not only groceries, but also modern delicacies like growlers, kombucha, and avocado toast. While she has brought the store into the modern era, Cone still strives to fulfill the legacy of community that her great-grandfather’s store had years ago. “Community is the driving force behind our business,” Cone says. “We believe that people come together over good food and drink. Creating a community is one of the core values ‘on all sides of the counter,’ meaning among our team, our neighborhoods, and our vendors.”

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