Shelly Downes, owner of Miss Sunshine’s General Store. Photo by Emma Diaz

Idyllwild has a general store focused on local needs. With over 1,500 items, Miss Sunshine’s General Store has everything from paper towels and toilet paper to tissue paper and back to school items. The store has items for tourists who may have forgotten to pack a toothbrush or just want a puzzle to do while relaxing, but the store is not geared to tourists. It is geared to the locals.
“The town has been so good to me, I wanted to give back,” said Shelly Downes, owner of Miss Sunshine’s General Store. Downes’ original motivation for the store was to provide goods for the residents at a lower price.
“Business has been way beyond my expectations,” Downes stated when asked how business has been since opening the doors in May. The process was quick, Downes admitted. She signed the lease on April 6 and had the store ready and open on May 6. The location had been available for some time and Downes just knew that this was the perfect location to open a general store. “Everyone has to go to the post office,” she said.
Downes is not the only one in the store. It is a family business. Her son does all the IT work and her daughter-in-law, Amanda, manages the store. Downes has two additional employees.
The best part, Downes said excitedly, “I am having so much fun doing this.”
The biggest seller is the word stones. She has had to reorder them seven times since opening. Thirty-six come in a basket, so you can do the math on that one, she said.
One of the things Downes is most excited about is the party items. There is a spot to now buy tissue paper in town and she sells cards for $1.50 each.
Toys are also a big hit. There are two Hot Wheels collectors in town who come into the store to see if there is anything to add to their collections.
Batteries are also a big seller.
Downes shared, “I listen to what the customers want.”
When it comes to the hours she is open, she sticks to consistency and what the people want. She came into the store earlier one morning for a delivery. There was a couple sitting at the bench just outside the door. They were waiting for the store to open. The couple told Downes that seven people had already been by to see if the store was open so they could purchase something. It was only 10:30 a.m. and the couple had been sitting there for 20 minutes. Downes decided to immediately open sooner at 10 a.m.
Other items and services the store offers are UPS and FedEx drop-offs, copying and faxing. In addition to that, Downes is a notary and offers that service seven days a week. The store also sells stamps, padded envelopes, postcards, ice and packing tape. She also sells the Town Crier.
You want to know how the store got its name? Downes drives a yellow Kia Soul and has had the name “Miss Sunshine,” she names all of her cars, on the car for three years. She thought, what about “Miss Sunshine?” Downes loves handing out happy face stickers to children and customers.
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week and is located at 54423 Village Center Dr. in the same shopping plaza as the Idyllwild Library and the Post Office.

Some of the 1,500 items Miss Sunshine’s General Store sells. Photo by Hava Diaz