The general store grew out of the needs of a small, newly settled community of people to trade (both buy and sell) goods and supplies, and by extension, basic financial services. Beyond these economic functions, they also performed the important social function of providing a place for social interchange and the gathering of news from distant places. As technology has progressed, many of these functions are no longer necessary, with specialized banking services, telecommunications, and postal systems, among others. Equally, the wealth of goods available on the market has so greatly expanded that one store, with the exception of the "mega-store" "big box" type of retailers, can no longer stock everything.
Rather than disappearing completely, however, the general store has, somewhat indirectly, led to the convenience store. Fulfilling some of the same functions, such as stocking a wide range of essential items, located for convenient access by those in the local area (although the use of the automobile renders the "local area" somewhat of a misnomer), and operating on a convenient schedule for the customers. The socializing, community identity function of the general store, however, is not found to the same extent, if at all, in the convenience store.
As science and technology have advanced, improving the quality of life in physical terms, the demise of the old style of general store (and its forerunner the trading post) is only to be expected. Its reappearance in the form of the convenience store, as an alternative to the large supermarkets, department stores, and shopping malls, can be seen as a valuable contribution to modern society. Catering to the needs of those whose lives are hectic, with jobs and family obligations to balance, its ability to allow customers to purchase essential items anywhere any time functions as a "lifesaver" and stress reducer.
Thus, the general store and convenience store can be seen as fulfilling the needs both of consumer and retailer, the purpose of individuals and of society as a whole. As such, while not perfect, they serve the equally imperfect individuals and societies of which they are a part.