Village of Cazenovia celebrates Soltwedel’s Store 75th anniversary

Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 10:40 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2021 at 8:28 AM CDT
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VILLAGE OF CAZENOVIA, Wis. (WMTV) - A small village in Richland County is celebrating their general store’s 75th anniversary and the big impact its had on the community.

On Saturday, people from Cazenovia came out in droves to show their appreciation for John Soltwedel and his general store. The store has been in the Soltwedel family since 1946, but John has been the owner and operate for the past four decades.

After his father’s “untimely death,” John took the store over.

“I’ve been doing this for 44 years, since my father passed away in 1977,” he explained. “I kind of stepped in here and never stepped out.”

It’s the store’s milestone anniversary and John’s unwavering dedication to the small rural community that sparked the idea for the block party on Saturday.

Organizer Jeffrey Even said the village had to work to keep the scale of the block party a secret from John, given his store is a “gossip center.” Even says the large turnout was no surprise.

“I don’t think he realize the impact he has on this community and how much he means to everybody,” Even said. “He has such a faithful following and so many people who grew up here and have memories of that store.”

Over the past 75 years a lot has changed. John recalls a time when every small town had one or two general stores, and “small town America” was booming. While Cazenovia has faced challenges of its own, most notably the pandemic, one thing has remained constant: Soltwedel’s.

“I’m gonna keep it going as long as I can,” said John. “It’s rural living at its best.”

correction: The original version of this story placed Soltwedel's store in Sauk Co. It has since been updated to reflect that it is in Richland Co.

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