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April 19, 2017 10:08 PM

Preserving Prosperity

Davis, SD

A shop that specializes in homemade jams and jellies is preserving the rural economy of small-town South Dakota.  Business at Solace Farm General Store has been so good, the owners are planning an expansion this summer.

The large selection of homemade jams sold at Solace Farm General Store is downright jarring.

"We have raspberry Moscato. We have lemon. Vanilla bean. We have carrot cake. We have ginger peach. Peach Bellini. We have black velvet apricot. We have cowboy coffee. We have spice blueberry," co-owner Cinda Wilson said.

Sisters Cinda Wilson and Karla Romereim used to sell their jams and jellies exclusively on the flea market circuit.  Three years ago, they opened up a quaint general store in Davis as a permanent spot for their preserves and other homemade products and antiques.

"This community has accepted us and supported us so much that we felt that we had to do something to give back and support them," Wilson said.

The sisters grew up in Sioux Falls, but were drawn to the serenity of small-town life.  That's why their business is called "Solace Farm."

"Stepping out onto that rural property where all I could hear was birds, wind in the trees, an occasional dog barking, it was solace.  It was just peaceful and it was solace," Wilson said.

Store book keeper Romereim lives in Omaha, but comes up twice a month to work weekends.

"I make some jams.  I make some jellies.  I sew some things.  I up-cycle furniture and a little bit of everything," Romereim said.

Being the only retailer is a big deal in a small town like Davis and its somewhat fluid population.

"The sign says 85 on the highway, but we can only count 54, but that's not including the 41 wild turkeys that we have," resident Teresa Nygaard said. 

A business like Solace Farm brings much-needed sales tax revenue to Davis.  The customer base extends far beyond the city limits.

"We draw people from out of town, Yankton, Iowa, Sioux Falls and they come here and go shopping.  They've actually created this as a destination; they hear about our store and they want to come and see what it's got," Romereim said.

Locals appreciate Davis becoming a destination.

"I love it.  I absolutely think it's great. It brings people into town and honestly, there's not a lot of reasons why you have to drive to Davis," Nygaard said.  "The neatest thing is it's a place for conversation for the locals where you get together, grab a cup of coffee and a little gossip, so to speak." 

There's even a little history amid all the homey touches.  The store includes a mini-museum that features a display of the 1928 tornado that destroyed much of Davis.  The town has never fully recovered from that natural disaster from nearly 90-years ago.

"The town was huge.  There were three banks, three car dealerships, a bakery, more than one grocery store and the tornado came through and almost decimated it," Romereim said.

Solace Farm is investing in Davis's future by expanding.  The sisters plan to build onto their store so they'll have more space to sell more products.  Like their jams, they hope to spread prosperity to a town that's endured through the decades.

"This town does keep on going.  It's little, but it's strong and solid and its people are in a strong community, together," Romereim said.

Solace Farm also plans to host flea markets on the second Saturday of the month starting in May.  If you'd like to check out the products they sell, click here.

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