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Wisconsin Trails Magazine 
January/February 2004 issue
Editor's FINDS by Laura Kearney

Sweet Memories

Leave the fast lane--Interstate 94, that is--behind and take a trip down memory lane at The Merchant General Store in Black River Falls.

Last March, Trish and Darren Durman transformed a 1912 former shoe store into a general store, complete with original pressed-tin ceilings and hardwood floors, and an 1896 cash register. Music fromthe 1930's to 50's adds another layer of nostalgia. Displays are a mix of old and new--and new made to look old-fashioned. There are modern takes on classic toys, baby gifts, holiday decorations, antiques, and baking mixes and spices in retro canisters (including McNess products once sold door to door). The focal point is two tables of penny candies in glass jars--think Mary Janes, Necco Wafers, Black Jack gum--although today's prices starts at 10 cents.

So pull up a counter stool, order a Coca-Cola in a glass bottle, and enjoy the good old days all over again. Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday; noon-4 p.m., Sunday. 216 Main Street, Black River Falls; (715) 284-5700,

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