GAYS MILLS - Change is in the air and that includes businesses in Gays Mills.
Ocooch Mountain General Store had what owner Ritch Stevenson described as a ‘soft opening’ on Friday, April 16. A grand opening is planned for Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1. More on that in a moment.
The new business is located at 16734 Highway 131 in Gays Mills. It’s directly across the highway from the Gays Mills Cemetery. The former gas station/convenience store space has been entirely remodeled and has new, clean modern feel.
The Ocooch Mountain General Store is currently open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Their plan is to change to summer hours sometime in June.
So, what is the Ocooch Mountain General Store? Well let’s call it an eclectic mix of goods and services on its way to filling a unique niche in the local retail economy.
On a basic level, it’s a store with merchandise–in particular hunting, fishing and camping items. Right now, there’s a bit of open shelf space, but merchandise to fill those shelves is on the way.
However, there’s lot more to the store than hunting, fishing and camping equipment. For instance, it’s a premium coffee shop, complete with an espresso machine and more.
“I’m going to be a barista,” Vickie Stevenson announced with a smile. So are her daughters Lindsey and Sydney, as well as store manager Devin Wallin.
Help with the premium coffee has come from Kelly’s Coffee in Richland Center.
That’s right, Gays Mills is on its way to lattes and flavored coffee drinks. There will also be some baked goods offered. That includes vegan and gluten-free options, according to Vickie.
“There’s a little something for everybody,” Vicki said.
There are plans for a deli section as well, featuring what Ritch called grab-and-go foods.
Did we say eclectic? The Ocooch Mountain General Store will also offer an auto service center run by Jake Whiteaker from Lynnville, an experienced ASE certified mechanic.
The auto service is centered on routine maintenance and repairs, Ritch explained.
“It will do practically everything, just not the big stuff like engine overhauls and transmission repairs,” Ritch explained.
The work will of course include oil changes. However, there will also be tires, brake work, suspension service and more that will be offered.
Ritch hopes the Ocooch Mountain General Store will compliment more than compete with other local businesses. To that end, he is partnering with New Horizons for auto supplies and goods.
The store’s web page has already had quite a bit of traffic. It can be found at ocoochmountaingeneralstore.com The store can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by phone at 608-735-4000.
Customers are encouraged to schedule an auto appointment online and can even order ahead for a beverage.
Ritch Stevenson believes that the business is also about promoting and remembering where we live in the Ocooch Mountains, along the Kickapoo River. He hopes with the business to help people learn some of the history of the area.
Going forward, Ocooch Mountain General Store has plans to offer products from both Premier Meats in Spring Green and Solar Meats in Soldiers Grove. The store also plans to offer locally produced maple syrup and some local apples in the fall.You won’t want to miss the Ocooch Mountain Store Grand Opening on Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be the moment to see just what this new Gays Mills business has to offer.