Dave & Susan Finley, owners of Kalona General Store
As they strive to meet the needs of the Kalona community, David and Susan Finley, owners of Kalona General Store, have launched a “home delivery” service.
“We will deliver lunch or other products from the store to any home or business within the city limits of Kalona,” David said. “We deliver sandwiches or meals anytime the Eatery is open.”
Hours for the Kalona General Store are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Eatery hours are 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
“We offer made to order sandwiches and daily hot specials using premium meats, cheeses and produce because we want to give customers quality food at reasonable prices,” David stated.
Since opening the Kalona General Store in the location of the former Reif’s store, the Finleys have tried to fill the needs of the community, making adjustments as the needs of community change.
“Before we opened the Kalona General Store, we asked area people what they would like us to provide similar to what Reif’s had before a fire closed that store.,” Susan noted.
Kalona General Store is in the same location of Kalona’s first general store that opened in 1879. As the town changed, founder Isaac Edmondson and later Logan and Steve Reif evolved as the community changed. The Finleys are continuing that tradition of fulfilling the needs of the community as it changes.
“When we first opened,” David related, “people told us they wanted much of the same items that Reif’s carried such as stationary and sewing supplies. We still carry those items, but we have added many more items to fill the changing needs of the community.”
One example is the addition of bulk and specialty food items that were formerly carried by Foods Natural before they closed. “We have some of the same items as Amish stores carry, but packaged in smaller, more useable portions. Not everyone can use fifty pound bags of products,” he noted. The store’s vitamins, supplements and health related foods are in the Kalona Naturals section of the business.
“When the Kalona Bakery closed due to a fire and because Kalona Family Restaurant closed, we launched the Eatery,” he pointed out. Susan suggested that name as she discovered a lot of general stores across the nation had small diners that they called eateries.
The Bakery fire also resulted in Kalona Amish Country Noodles and Kalona Chocolates being closed for a while, so the General Store added Kalona Chocolates products and the Amish Country Noodles allowing those local businesses to continue to have a store front while they rebuilt. Their products are still offered in the store and remain good sellers.
When the Kalona Cheese Factory closed, the Kalona General store added a cheese shop that includes cheese curds from the Homestead Dairy from Waukon, Iowa. The Homestead curds have won Iowa State Fair championship ribbons for cheese curds. “The curds are really popular, and are good ‘squeakers'”, David noted.
Kalona General Store strives to have a good variety of Amish made and other local products. They have Cashew Crunch, pies baked by the Cephas Yoder family who used to make pies for the Kalona Bakery. They also have handmade rugs and other sewn items made by local women. Another new item is wine from the local Wooden Wheel Vineyards. People also bring in their containers to buy locally produced honey.
“We are working with the Mid-Prairie schools to have the art work of students displayed in the store,” David pointed out. “This allows parents and grandparents an opportunity to see the work being done by the students.”