By Jasmine Willis
NORTH COHOCTON — There is a feeling of going back to simpler times when you walk into the old candy store on the corner of University Avenue.
The Olde Country Store and More has combined bother German and American traditions within its 170-year-old walls.
The Wells Family, Jeff, Jenny, and Denise have brought something special to the store with German Heritage and the Green Heart of the Finger Lakes.
On Dec. 7 and 8 they held the highly anticipated Olde Country Store German Christmas event with Santa Claus, German Ornaments and food, local and regional vendors, and new Green Heart of the Finger Lakes merchandise.
Jeff Wells, Olde Country Store and More co-owner, said his daughters are getting used to running the store when he is traveling around the region doing promotions. The idea is to fill the shelves with more Green Heart of the Finger Lakes merchandise and provide a place for more local products.
The newest item in the Green Heart of the Finger Lakes line is a stem that can be attached to the stemless wine glasses made by 2 Crock Pots.
Another thing the Wells Family is working on is bringing more awareness to the history of the store. It has continued to be a childhood tradition for generations.
“We are trying to keep as much of the history on the walls as we can. I am working on bringing people upstairs once a week for tours, and to talk about the history of the store. I want to get more information from the locals who remember past owners or the history,” he said. “This place used to be called Wetmore Hall. It was owned by Wetmore who used it as a skating rink and opera house. I am hoping to write a book on the store history and local history. I want to talk about the background of the settlers who came to Cohocton.”
“The background of the town matters. I had a column I called History Matters on the Olde Country Store and More. The first settler came and made a Tavern here for shelter, food, and supplies. This was a lumberjack settlement that cleared out many of the trees, so the hills were nearly bare,” Wells continued. “We have a Finger Lakes Calendar here as well. It has photographs taken by a famous TV Sportscaster named John Kucko. They are beautiful photos of the region he has taken. We also have a brand-new shipment of German Ornaments here in time for Christmas shopping.”
Wells mentioned his eighth great-grandfather was one of the founders of Lausche, Germany glassmaking. He has been to the same village his grandfather was in Germany. The same smells and sounds of the old-time glassmaking remain in Lausche.
“My grandma always used to pull books off the shelves and share our German family history of glassmaking with us. When I was in Germany, I was able to walk down those same streets my four fathers walked down and listen to the same sounds of old glassmaking. We are very proud to share this story and tradition with the town,” Jeff Wells said. “When you are in the German Village you will notice everyone there is a glassmaker. The whole community is filled with glass artists. We have ornaments here that have the three dots at the bottom. That means they come from the same mold of glass my grandfather used long ago in Lausche.”
Krista Flickinger, Flick’s Farm co-owner makes special clay jewelry with essential oils to calm and relax her students and customers.
“I started out as a pre-K teacher in Wayland. The students had a lot of sensory issues, so I wanted to do something that would help them. I discovered a different way of making clay jewelry and using essential oils to help calm and relax my students,” she said. “The oils can last all day on the jewelry. I like to put a few drops on my jewelry before I leave in the morning and the students always like to see what kind I have on that day. It has become a relaxing teaching tool to use in class. I am now going to be teaching third graders, and I can bring this idea to them.”
Flickinger’s husband, Chris, has started a mushroom farm to handle coming back to civilian life after being at war.
“He works at the Bath VA Hospital now. The military taught him to have a mission and lots of life skills. When soldiers leave the force, they feel they no longer have a purpose or mission. The Cornell Cooperative Extension has a class called Armed to Farm. It teaches veterans like my husband coming back from war how to do different kinds of farming. We found out through this program mushrooms have a lot of different health qualities and help with your immune system,” she said. “My husband is working on bringing his mushroom farming to the greenhouse at the hospital. He wants to help the veterans there for rehab get the tools they need to get back to civilian life.”
Becky Malone, Dutch Hill Homestead owner, has been in business over a year now. She has different seasonal crafts and things she sells at her online company. Malone loves the opportunity to sell her items in events like this one.
“My husband and I are Malone Home Builders. We work on home building most of the time. In the winter months it slows down, so I am working on crafts,” she said. “I do some wooden crafts on my own and others I will buy and sell. I am finding me highest selling items are the wooden signs and wooden sleigh trays.”
Greer Alexis Bacon, Award-Winning Children’s Book author, has come back with several new books. Dear Sunshine and Dear Moon are a couple of the bestsellers. She is working on a whole “Dear” series that will be available on Amazon. Soon “Dear Earth” will be coming out for toddler aged children.
“I am doing very well with toddler books. I have done a couple coloring books, and an educational one on the Farmer’s Market. I got a graphic art tablet at home now, so I am able to do all of my own illustrations this time. I can get a lot more done that way,” she said. “The Unicorn Coloring Book is very popular with the little girls. Everything is about Unicorns right now. I did a Christmas book called ‘A Very Snowy Night’ that is more seasonal. I am finding that my ‘Dear’ books are very popular in the United Kingdom. I just won first place for 2019 Purple Dragonfly Children’s Book Award.”
The Olde Country Store and More is open until winter break from January to February. The hours of operation are Tuesday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. They can be reached at 585-534-5747. Its located at 2 University Ave. North Cohocton. You can visit the website for more information at www.ocs1849.com