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By Pat Wood

On August 22, 2000, the U.S. General Store served its 250,000th customer, the U.S. Embassy in Brazzaville. The customer requested the national stock number for a calendar pad.

First question: Where is Brazzaville?

Second question: What the heck is the U.S. General Store?

Answers: Brazzaville is in Africa, the Congo to be exact. As for the second question, the U.S. General Store is a little different from your average retail store. It doesn't sell clothes, fine jewelry, or chocolate chip cookies. In fact, it doesn’t sell anything -- it provides answers free of charge. Thanks to 30 federal, state, and local agencies or organizations, the U.S. General Store provides one-stop shopping for all government services and information.

OK, next question. Where is the U.S. General Store?

Physically, it’s located at Atlanta City Hall East, 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta GA 30308. It is co-located with the Atlanta One-Stop Capital Shop, part of the Empowerment Zone program. You can also call the store at (404) 347-6390. But if you want to "shop" in your PJs at 3 o’clock in the morning, then visit the U.S. General Store website. If you have a question, send an e-mail to

This any-question-any-time-any-government operation is sponsored by the Atlanta Federal Executive Board and the National Partnership for Reinventing Government.

Back to that 250,000th customer thing.

"Customers can visit, call or write us for any information about their government," said Dan Lawless, the store manager or chief answerman. "We will answer or research any query or serve as an advocate for the customer in the event we don't know the answer. Since we started on June 24, 1996, we’ve had 250,000 face-to-face visits, e-mails, or phone requests."

"Our 250,000th customer in Brazzaville sent us an e-mail," he continued. "I know a stock number for a calendar pad is not exciting, but we had another satisfied customer — and that excites us."

For More Information

Contact Dan Lawless or other government employees using any of the U.S. General Store contact information above, or call Dan directly at (404) 347-6388.

About the Author

Pat Wood, editor of Access America, E-Gov E-zine is on the staff of the National Partnership for Reinventing Government. You may reach her at or (202) 694-0063.

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