BY ADAM KENT-ISAAC
The restoration of Solsberry’s Yoho General Store was “a homecoming for us all,” says Jim Murphy, president of CFC Properties. “I grew up in this area, and I remember the days of getting ice cream here as a kid.” Murphy made sure that the favorite flavor and bestseller, butter pecan, was stocked when the store reopened last December after a six-month overhaul by CFC.
The Yoho General Store has deep roots in Solsberry, says Lavon Yoho, whose parents, Dwight and Pearl Yoho, purchased the current building in 1947. The memorable family name likely originated in Switzerland, with the first Yohos arriving in Indiana in 1840, according to Lavon. “My father and mother spent fifty-two years with this property. I’ve spent a lifetime here—I was born right across the street.”
Preserving authenticity was a major goal for CFC, a division of Cook Group Incorporated. “We retained as much of the original store as we could,” Murphy says. Much of the wooden floor is original, as well as some of the shelving, and the old potbelly stove still stands, although it is no longer used for heating.
Among the more modern updates are the foundation, ceiling, and windows. A new kitchen was also constructed, and the building was connected to water for the first time.
Murphy says the project was spearheaded by the late Bill Cook, who “had expressed a desire to help revive the community and provide a place for people to buy the staples they need—and to congregate and visit.” Marcy Cook, who grew up in the area, greatly influenced this project, and her husband, Carl (Bill’s son), was involved throughout the entire construction phase of the renovation. Renee Jones manages the store along with 11 other employees, all of whom live in the area.
Business has been booming, says Jones, and not just with area residents. Bicyclists from all over have been making pit stops here during cross-country rides, she says. “They’ve been thrilled that there’s food and water available.” Motorcyclists zooming down State Road 43 are also frequent customers.
Along with a grocery and small sit-down deli, the store also has a gas station, which is open 24/7, and an ATM. According to Jones, the most popular item at the store is still ice cream.