Save the Dates to Join the Fun
SOLSBERRY, IN – The Yoho General Store will be hosting two milestone celebrations: the 10-Year Renovation Milestone Kick-Off and the Official 10-Year Renovation Milestone. While the store’s official renovation milestone is on December 1, given the potential for better weather conditions, the store has chosen to host a Kick-Off Celebration on Saturday, July 23, from 11:00am – 3:00pm. During the event, the store will continue to operate during its recently extended business hours, 7am – 8pm, kitchen closes at 7:30pm. Along with the new extended hours, the store is also now open on Sundays from 12pm – 6pm.
In addition to the Yoho General Store’s traditional menu, event attendees can expect incredible ice cream specials, coney dogs, lemon shake-ups, and complimentary sweet treats. Aside from the family-friendly activities, music, and festive décor, guests who arrive early will receive giveaway prizes (supply is limited). The store will have commemorative t-shirts, koozies, mugs, and additional Yoho branded goods for sale.
While the store has been serving the Solsberry community for nearly 90 years, it has only been renovated since 2012. Following the renovation, the store was equipped with a small deli area initially designed to serve made-to-order, custom sandwiches, fresh deli sides, and ice cream. Over the next few years, the menu grew with new food items.
By 2018, the Southern-Indiana dishes became so popular that the store reduced its product shelves to expand the dining area. By August of 2021, the store had to cease offering its popular fried foods as the kitchen equipment could no longer keep up with the customer demand. CFC Properties, A Cook Group Company, specializing in historic restoration and property management that owns the Yoho General Store, explored many potential options that would allow the kitchen equipment to be replaced.
Paul Wagoner, the store’s new manager and resident of Eastern Greene County, came on the scene in mid-2021. Living only minutes from the store, Paul shared, “Working at the Yoho General Store feels more special because, here, I get to serve my neighbors.” Prior to arriving at the store, Paul spent the past 18 years as the Hospitality Manager of the Grant Street Inn, a CFC property in downtown Bloomington. Paul was recently promoted to CFC’s Director of Operations; in addition to his new responsibilities, he will continue to oversee the Grant Street Inn, as well as the Yoho Store. Paul recalls, “It was devastating the day we had to shut down the fryers; many of our fried food items are a staple.” He continued, “Finding a new fryer that would work with our existing space was a long, exhaustive process. There are so many facets to consider when dealing with a commercial kitchen. Several things had not been crossed in the past because the store was only ever meant to offer a deli with a limited menu and ice cream. But because so many grew to love the food, the restaurant side took off. Cook Group’s engineer, Bill Thompson, worked tirelessly on finding the ideal solution that would work with our kitchen. We are so pleased a solution was found, and the store can continue to offer so many menu items customers know and love.”
By mid-March, a new enclosed fryer, oven, and ventilation hood were installed. The new fryer made it possible for the store to provide its customers with their favorite fried foods. Not only can staff turn food items around in a timely manner, but more importantly, the new kitchen equipment protects the historic building by complying with the latest safety measures. The newest ventilation hood also offers customers a better dining experience because it’s able to circulate the air faster.
Following the installation of the new enclosed fryer, popular favorites such as the oversized breaded tenderloins, crispy fish sandwiches, onion rings, golden french fries, cheese curds, and mozzarella sticks have returned to the menu. Customers raved with excitement the day the big news, “FRIED FOODS are BACK!” was released on the Yoho General Store’s Facebook and Instagram pages. In addition to these fan-favorite fried items, the store offers monthly Southern-Indiana specials, including the burger of the month, 12 rotating varieties of pie, and eight flavors of hand-scooped ice cream.
July is always a special time at the Yoho General Store because it has been designated National Ice Cream Month. It is an occasion that allows so many to reminisce about the beloved Yoho Store tradition – hand-scooped ice cream! The Yoho General Store began in the 1930s with the original Yoho brothers, Frank, Oscar, and William. After some change in ownership, Cotton and Pearl Yoho became full owners by 1950 and ran the store for nearly 50 years. Following their passing, their youngest son, Donnie Yoho, ran the store until his passing in 2011. From that point, Lavon Yoho stepped in to run the store. For generations, many can recall fond memories of receiving an ice cream cone from a Yoho descendant.
While Lavon attempted to keep the store running along with having a previous dedicated full-time job, and even with the help of family and friends, by July of 2012, he agreed to sell the store to CFC Properties. Lavon was aware of how CFC’s restoration projects had positively influenced other communities and believed they could make it happen in Solsberry as well.
“CFC’s acquisition of the store kept the doors open,” shared Jim Murphy, President of CFC Properties. He continued, “Since that day, we’ve worked diligently to positively impact the community. I’m a firm believer a rising tide raises all boats.” Jim is a graduate of Eastern Greene High School. As a teenager, he remembers visiting the Yoho Store with his family to get ice cream – especially butter pecan!
“We support the local attractions through several cross-promotional efforts, such as with the “You Are Here” and directional signage programs CFC implemented,” shared Rebecca Ellison, Marketing Specialist for CFC Properties. In 2016, the Greene County Tourism Advisory Board presented the store with the Hospitality Business of the Year award for its tourism initiatives, including offering high-quality products and services. Rebecca continued, “We do a lot through print and digital advertising efforts as well. The Yoho General Store’s website provides a sizable “Things To Do” page. The store also provides a large brochure and business card holder that attractions and other business owners can display their information. It’s exciting watching Solsberry and Greene County growing more into a well-known destination point.”
After months of extensive renovation, the Yoho General Store opened its doors on December 1, 2012.
Efforts to preserve the store’s history included restoring many of the original fixtures, the wood-plank flooring, shelving units, and the Hot Blast Florence Stove. Today, the store continues to make updates that benefit its customers and staff.
Save the Date – the Yoho General Store will be celebrating its Official 10-Year Renovation Milestone on Saturday, December 3. Paul commented, “Our goal for the July celebration is to kick-off the milestone year during the summer months when everyone can enjoy the fun festivities outside, as well as inside the old general store. I hope you, your family, and friends, come join us for both events this year!” Additional event details will be released on the Yoho General Store Facebook page this fall. Those who wish to receive store updates regularly may “Follow” the store’s page on Facebook.
Learn more about the Yoho General Store by visiting www.yohogeneralstore.com.
About CFC Properties
CFC Properties, A Cook Group Company with a passion for historic preservation, purchased and restored the 1930s Yoho General Store in 2012. CFC was successful in restoring much of the original store as possible during its renovation. CFC is committed to Solsberry and is grateful that the Yoho General Store can continue to be a staple in serving the Solsberry community. CFC’s passion for historic preservation also extends to Bloomington and Laconia, Indiana, including Canton, Illinois. To learn about additional properties CFC has restored, please visit www.cfcproperties.com.