Bay Area Power Couples: General Store's Mason St. Peter & Serena Mitnik-Miller
It's hard to start a business in the Bay Area. And even harder to make it successful. We're inspired by the couples who have done it together and have decided to highlight them every week in our "Bay Area Power Couples" blog series.
Meet Mason St. Peter and Serena Mitnik-Miller, the young couple behind the adorable Outer Sunset shop General Store. With Mason behind the scenes and Serena doing the buying and running the shop, it's a lovingly kept haven on the edge of town (right next to one of our favorites, Mollusk Surf Shop). It's a creative space for artists to show their work, as well as a spot to find local handmade housewares, apparel and amazing books.
Where, when and how did you two meet?
We met at Mollusk Surf Shop almost 4 years ago the rest is history.
How did General Store start? Whose idea was it?
The idea for General Store started when the space opened up in our
neighborhood. We never planned to open a store but it was just what the neighborhood needed. Mason came up with the name and General Store was born!
What did you guys do before starting General Store?
I [Mason] was and still am a designer working with John Klopf at Klopf Architecture. Serena was and is an artist and photographer and used to work at Mollusk Surf Shop.
How has your relationship evolved since working and being together at
General Store? What role do each of you play at the shop?
Since working together at General Store we have gotten married and moved into a new home. We both design and work together on most things. Mason is the behind the scenes organizer and builder and accountant. Serena is the buyer and runs the store.
How have the two of you as a team helped the community out in that part of town?
Opening General Store was meant to complement the neighborhood. Not only do we provide a space to shop locally for gifts and clothing etc, we also function as an outlet for some of the talented crafts people in the neighborhood to sell their goods.
What are the best and worst things about working with your spouse?
The best thing is that we get to spend a lot of time together, the worst thing is that we get to spend a lot of time together. Ha ha.
What’s the worst fight you’ve had over your business?
No comment. . . .Who gets to work on Sunday!
What do you guys do to get away from the business?
Surf trips! We love to go down the coast, to New Zealand, Mexico, Hawaii, wherever the waves are, you will find us!
Do you have any advice for couples who run a business together, or are
thinking about it?
The only advice we can give is only do it for love. If you don't love it, don't do it.