Banks General Store
“Banks General is a cool, small, neighborhood general store and coffee shop with a curated selection of products and lots of good vibes!” -Kate and Marc of Banks General Store
A sweet general store with an intentional selection of products opened up just around the corner from our house. Finally, a place to buy a smoothie and some avocado toast to take to the beach! Our whole family loves Banks General, my kids call it "the kombucha shop".
Kate Banks was born in Washington DC. She worked in interior design in Dallas Texas, and then later, New York City. In 2016, Kate's aunt opened The Market Montauk, a general store boasting 17 employees and a broad menu with health-oriented specialty grocery items. Located at the end of Long Island, Montauk is a major tourist destination for New Yorkers looking to escape the city. Kate has always been passionate about food. She believes our emotions and our health are intricately connected. Kate happily got involved in the family project and took any excuse she could to spend her weekends working at The Market Montauk. It was a joy to spend time there and become familiar with the ins and outs of running a business, but Kate never imagined something more would come from that experience.
Interior design remains a passion for Kate. This is clear to all customers at Banks, the thoughtful decor is a large part of the appeal of the space. She hopes to find new projects and continue challenging herself to grow as a designer. “I loved it. When you’re a guest invited into someone’s home, they open it in a completely different way than they do to a designer. I really saw their life. It was rewarding but it wasn’t always a good fit.” Banks General web has a page dedicated to Banks General Design firm which is available for hire for design projects in the Barcelona area.
Marc was raised in Gava and attended the local French school, Bon Soleil. It was an excellent experience where he made lifelong friends. Marc was unsure of what path to take after high school. In search of something practical which could lead to job opportunities, Marc chose to study engineering. However well it seemed things were going, Marc described his life as a glass cage. Craving a change, he accepted a project in Bamberg, Germany where he studied German intensively. The time abroad was enjoyable and an experience for growth in all aspects. Marc went on to work at BMW in Munich and he continued his adventures working abroad with a two-year stint in England. As time went on the feeling of not belonging anywhere began to settle in, his parents were only getting older, he was missing milestones in the lives of good friends and he longed for the sunshine of his home country. When he got a job offer in Girona, Marc took it as a sign it was time to come back to Spain.
In 2015 Marc decided to use his savings to buy a property in his hometown, he bought the locale now known as Banks General. He rented it out to a construction company. Fast forward to 2018, Kate moves to Barcelona in search of sun and adventure. Marc is living and working in Girona. The connection was immediate for both of them. They recall their first date. On the metro in Barcelona, Marc showed Kate a drawing he had made of a delicatessen. He shared his dreams with Kate about opening something in the little locale he had bought years ago. Marc had long been looking to exit the engineering world, Kate says it was evident in his body he was itching for a new project. Could he leave his job and open the corner store of his dreams on Paseo Garbi? As the romance grew, so did their plans to make this business a reality. For most of 2019 they worked to tie up loose ends, Kate was still working remotely for a design firm in the UK and Mark was still in the automotive industry. They both quit their jobs and by the end of 2019 were renovating and preparing the space now known as Banks General. Marc admits his parents were wary of their venture.
Kate was initially worried about the permits. She remembers filling out the forms and checking all the boxes, they sell organic health food items, but also clothes, salad spoons, beach paddles, and natural cosmetics, so what kind of space is it exactly? Café? Store? Which box do they fit in? Thankfully the permits came through without a problem. Kate and Marc worked through the winter of 2019-2020 to iron out the final details of their project. Kate was involved in every aspect of the design and merchandising.
March 2020, Covid hits Spain. They were delayed for 2 months while Spain was in full lockdown, and residents were restricted to their homes. How has covid affected them? They said they don’t have anything to compare it to. At times Marc admits perhaps it was even advantageous to them, people couldn’t go to restaurants and they would drop in throughout the day for to-go drinks or grocery items. When we were finally allowed out our front door, my 3 kids and I were ecstatic to discover Banks. It was a dream come true!
Marc says Kate had all the experience he lacked to make their dream complete, he wanted to take the plunge, but she gave him the push. They both claim their favorite part of the job is building relationships with their customers. Kate hopes in the post covid world they can do a bit more with their space and community. For now, she will focus on growing and finding ways to make more meaningful encounters for the customers.
General Store is all about community, a healthy lifestyle, friends, and good food.
1. What was your favorite childhood food?
Kate- chocolate croissant
Marc- Arroz a la cubana made by my grandma.
2. What is the strangest thing you ever ate?
Kate-Goat meat In Ghana
Marc- Snails were strange
3. The dish we eat the night we don’t want to cook is….
4. Describe a regular moment in your daily life that brings you joy.
Kate- Any moment of connection with people. It could be a stranger or a friend, it doesn’t matter, I enjoy the connection.
Marc-My morning coffee. It is especially nice if I happen to have a customer friend to share my coffee and some conversation with.
Location: Paseo Garbí 87 Castelldefels 08860
Phone number: +34 627 606 409
Facebook: https: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Grocery-Store/Banks-General-100733881644029/