Anna Levitin opened the first Russian General Store in 1997 with her two business partners, Alex Kogan and Natalia Levine.

The grocer was founded with the intent to bring a variety of Eastern European goods and food to a city Levitin said was largely devoid of the niche market.

“We have products from many different countries in Europe,” Levitin said. “Many products here you cannot find in American stores.”

In 2001, the trio found the supply and the demand were outpacing the store’s size and moved down Hillcroft Avenue to a larger space to accommodate an ever-growing number of wares.

From cheeses and sausages to books and jewelry, the store’s eclectic atmosphere invites shoppers to discover something new, Levitin said.

Some of the most visible products on display are the bottles of wine, including racks filled with Spanish and French bottles and shelves stacked with bottles from Moldova and Bulgaria.

“We have one of the largest choices of wine, [including] the famous Chechen wine,” Levitin said. “Armenian, Azerbaijan, ... it’s something that makes our store special.”

The General Store has also become an avid contributor to Houston’s Russian community. A bulletin board of upcoming events greets everyone who enters and wants to stay up to date.

Earlier this year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the store removed “Russian” from its sign and billboard, distancing itself from the conflict but still providing a piece of the culture its founders grew up with. After 25 years in business, Levitin remains the last of the original three business partners running the store, keeping her dream alive in the Meyerland community.

“Russian Store is just a name... but it’s products are still popular in America,” Levitin said.

The General Store

9629 Hillcroft Ave., Houston


Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily