Building on tradition: Randy & Steve's brings general store and more to Ellicott City

Don't let the vintage sign hanging above Randy & Steve's The New General Store on Main Street in Ellicott City fool you. Everything inside is -- as their name suggests -- "new" but with an old-fashioned touch.

After closing The Good Life Market on nearby Tonge Row and taking a two-year sabbatical in Madeira, Portugal, Randy Neely and his partner, Steve Archuleta, returned to downtown Ellicott City to open a store in the former location of Yates Market, which had been a Main Street mainstay for more than 100 years.


"We told [former owner Betty Yates Jacobs] we wanted to keep the same general store feel because we love Ellicott City and we respect the traditions of Yates Market," says Archuleta, 45.

In September 2012, Neely and Archuleta launched their new business venture with a vintage feel. They decided to open the store in three phases, starting with a retail store with home and kitchen products, followed by an Italian-style deli serving soups, salads and sandwiches, and finally a backyard garden with morning meditation classes led by Archuleta. The grand opening celebration is slated for April.

"We want to make sure everything tastes good, that it's affordable and that it looks good," says Neely, 48.

In addition to home care, personal care and kitchen products, the store sells gourmet foods like Stonewall Kitchen cupcake and pancake mix with specialty jams and syrups, multicolor farfalline pasta from Sapori Antichi, gluten-free Frontier Soups and Misstea organic tea.

"We truly, truly love our customers," Archuleta says of his return to Historic Ellicott City's shopping scene. "They have become a part of our lives. We love the young families, and we're excited to come back to our customers."

Randy & Steve's The New General Store, 8249 Main St., Ellicott City, 410-461-5840, randyandsteves.com