Travel Missouri: Henson's Old General Store

by AbbyFitz

In your travels across the Ozarks, be sure to stop at Henson's. Located in Champion Missouri, near Ava, Henson's General Store is truly a step back in time.

"Where the heck are we?"
This was my thought when my uncle was driving us Florida folks sightseeing one Friday.
To me, it looked like we were in the middle of nowhere.
All that could be seen for miles was farms, woods, and hills. But as we turned off a country highway, we came across a tiny community named Champion, Missouri and found Henson's General Store.

Driving Tour of Douglas County, Missouri

Off the beaten path for sure!

I'm the type of person that when I visit somewhere I don't want to see all the touristy stuff. I want to see real places, real people, real life.

Living in Florida has apparently jaded me to anything tourist related.

The one item on my things to see list during this trip was the Ava Drug Store in Ava, Missouri. It's an old fashioned soda fountain where everything's a dime.

My uncle had other ideas. After lunch, he decided to take us around to see the sights in Douglas County. For such a rural county, there is a lot to see. There was the Whispering Oaks Winery and Assumption Abbey Monastery. Not being Catholic, I found the monastery very interesting and peaceful.

At last, we pulled off onto a dirt road. We had arrived in Champion, Missouri.

What's in Champion?

A sign, a church, and a store
A sign, a church, and a store

Champion, Missouri

Home of Henson's General Store

Never heard of Champion? Neither had I, but it is well worth finding. Champion, Mo., consists of Henson's General Store and a church. Yep, that's it.

I thought things such as general stores had all vanished, but Henson's is still a vibrant part of the Champion community. It first opened in 1940 and it looks just like it did 70 years ago.

Stepping inside, it looked like a general store you would see in an old movie or TV show. It had floor to ceiling items of just about anything one would need.

Being about 20 miles from any major town, the owners keep the store stocked with everyday necessities, including stamps, groceries, feed, and even gas. I stocked up on Coke and ice cream.

For it being located in so remote a place, Henson's gets plenty of traffic. There was a steady stream of people coming in and out. Most were locals, but a few were visitors. By the register I noticed they had a visitor book. As I was signing in, I noticed that there had been visitors from as far away as Rio de Janeiro.

Henson's General Store

Located not really near anything
Outside of Henson's General Store
Outside of Henson's General Store
This old general store carries nearly everything
This old general store carries nearly...

You Can't Run Out of Gas

Henson's is off the beaten path, but don't worry, they can fill you up
Henson's Gas
Henson's Gas

Just Where is Champion?

It's really on the map!

How to Find It

You know you want to see it for yourself!

Champion is located about 76 miles east of Branson and 78 miles southeast of Springfield, so it's not too far for a day trip if you're staying in either of those places.

Henson's doesn't have an address that I know of, but it can be found on County Road 243, just off of State Highway WW.

Even though parts of Missouri are quite rural, there are still many things to see and do there. Just grab a tour book, sit down, and plan your drive. It will be worth it, I promise! I want to hear about your travel finds, too!


Updated: 04/18/2014, AbbyFitz
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Vivian on 03/30/2017

This store belonged to my dad, Ernest Viles in the early 40's I believe.

ericcarson on 12/28/2015

I grew up within walking distance, and to prove that I had such a childhood, I frequently pull up this article! It's nice to see it still has not changed

AbbyFitz on 03/08/2013

Dustytoes I'd love to live in the boonies! Shopping there would be so much more fun

AbbyFitz on 03/08/2013

It's great there. Hoping to visit again on my next trip

dustytoes on 03/08/2013

Good thing there are little stores like this out in the boonies for those who prefer to live in the country, but won't have to travel far for necessities. Great photos!

Tolovaj on 03/08/2013

Charming place. It looks like the time stopped there decades ago and it suits it just right:)

AbbyFitz on 03/07/2013

Yes I know. I'm in a more rural part of Florida but even still it's not like it used to be

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