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Randsburg General Store thrives in new location

 By LAURA QUEZADA News Review Staff Writer– There was an outpouring of grief in August 2022 when the Randsburg General Store announced that they were losing their lease. (see The News Review, August 26, 2022 – Randsburg General Store closes after more than 100 yrs) One customer started a GoFundMe to benefit the store, which enabled them to keep their doors open a few more months but wasn’t enough to purchase the building.

Two years ago, owners Brad Myers and Carol Dyer rented The Vault to help with the overflow from the long lines during holiday weekends. It didn’t stay open because they were unable to find staff. With the closing of the iconic location in lower Randsburg they relocated up the hill a bit and now their temporary name is Randsburg General Store up at The Vault.

A crowd outside the Vault

They kept the same grill menu as before: hamburgers (made with chopped sirloin), hot dogs, pulled pork, and homemade chili. Dyer tells us about the chili, “I’ve traced the recipe back for over 35 years. So that’s why we never changed it. We wanted to keep the history.”

When you ask Myers what they offer, he replies, “We offer our burgers, hot dogs and a really bad joke.”

They still provide essential items for motorcycles and campers.

“The one thing they forget is their socks,” says Myers. “People forget their ketchup their barbecue sauce, rice, paper plates, firewood,” adds Myers. The store carries ice, toothbrushes, small bottles of propane, toiletries, and has a little medicine cabinet. One can also find Randsburg memorabilia including t-shirts. “ We do have a beer off-site license so you can buy beer to go,” interjects Myers.

 Eventually ice cream will return for special occasions when they remodel the actual vault and they will call it the Malt Vault. “The thing about this place is it really does have a vault right there in the front and right where they kept the dynamite. It was the storage for the dynamite for the Yellow Aster Mine and then we found out from a previous tenant in this building that back in the 1920s a lot of the banks were failing. So they used this vault for safety deposit boxes.

“The greatest thing about moving up here is our people that came to the General Store are so loyal, “says Myers. 

“The first weekend that we were open was New Year’s weekend. And they followed us up here. They made sure that we were successful that weekend and last weekend and it’s the people that are making this so special for themselves and for us, because they’re here. We’re making new memories.

“There was a guy at The Joint one Saturday night when I was exhausted. I was sitting there eating a burrito having a beer, and he turned around and he looked at me and he said, ‘Thank you so much for having that place open because me and my dad used to come here and have great memories. And now I’m able to bring my son here and create those same memories.’  And that’s what the people said to us last weekend. I mean, it’s raining on Saturday, and we had a packed house.”

 Dyer tells us, “According to Carolyn Brennan Post, who is the daughter and granddaughter of prior owners of the General Store, the building the Vault is in was called the Jewell Building. It was owned by a lady named Kathleen Jewell who ran a mercantile there until sometime in the 50s; evidently, she was an angry woman and when Carolyn and other kids would come in to get candy after school she would chase them out.

“Walter Hankhammer, Grandfather to Post, is one of the prior owners of the General Store. He came to Randsburg in 1938 and originally had his drug store and soda fountain in the Jewell building until he bought the current General Store building sometime around 1940 or 41.”

The building is currently owned by Bob and Anne Pruitt. “They used to live here in Randsburg but because of health reasons they moved into Ridgecrest..They’re some of the original people from town that in a roundabout way they’re related to some of the very early owners of the Randsburg General Store. Bob Pruitt’s first wife, Carolyn, is a direct descendant relative of the people at the Randsburg General Store.” Over the years the building has housed a mercantile, a motorcycle shop, an art gallery, one fellow opened a pizza shop but it didn’t stay open very long due to bad health.