Owner store

Stateline’s historic Royal Blue General Store makes a comeback

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) — Michael Cruickshank has spent fifteen years working in the corporate catering industry. It was a job, which took Cruickshank everywhere, but always left him wanting to get back to one thing.

“For me, I was never home,” Cruickshank said. “To have the whole family together, you know, is pretty, pretty special.”

This dream is now a reality. Michael and his wife Lisa now run the Royal Blue General Store with their two daughters in Stillman Valley. The place is known to Stateliners for its history and deep family roots.

“The Castelli family, Tom is always local,” Cruickshank said. “His grandparents opened Royal Blue in 1936.”

The Royal Blue name ceased to exist after around 1993, until the Cruickshanks brought it back after the store reopened in late July. They quickly found the impact of his name, never left him.

“We’ve had people come in and show pictures saying, ‘This was me in 1941,'” Cruickshank said. “I spoke to someone in Florida, from Dixon who knew the Royal Blue.”

“It’s great to hear these stories and bring the building back,” said Lisa Cruickshank. “To bring back the building, and some of the memories, and a lot of good times.”

Whether it’s custard, roast chicken or the nostalgic general store around the corner at Royal Blue, the Cruickshanks say the community keeps coming back to show their support. As the family strives to carry on an old tradition, they also hope to achieve a new legacy.

“The Cruickshanks and Royal Blue, I mean it’s special, haven’t really hit us yet,” the Cruickshank couple said with a laugh.

In addition to the Castelli family and the Stillman Valley community, the couple also credit the village with making the process of restoring the Royal Blue Store so easy.

The store is located at 130 N. Walnut Street in Stillman Valley.