The Elton area takes pride in its pioneer history, which dates to the earliest days of settlement in eastern Langlade County.
A new chapter in that pioneer tradition begins Friday, with the grand opening celebration for The Evergreen Shoppe, located within the former Evergreen Inn complex of buildings at the corner of Highway 64 and P between Elton and White Lake.
Decades ago the Evergreen Inn was carved out a derelict storefront and reinvented as an eating space, with a gift shop added later.
Now owners Mervin and Tanya Brubaker are returning it to its storefront roots with the opening of their store, which features all manner of cheeses, meats, baked goods and bulk baking supplies.
The Brubakers are part of the Mennonite community and moved here, along with six other families, from the Gleason area, where the group is thriving, and operating a variety of farms and businesses.
It is called church outreach, the Brubakers explained, and is common when a church community matures, with stable leadership.
“When that happens, we start another church,” they explained. “Part of it is finding a place where there are things for families to do and we try to find an area that doesn’t have a similar church group in it.”
The families have been embraced by the Polar and Elton area. They are currently holding worship services at St. John Lutheran Church on Highway S.
The Evergreen Shoppe is a family affair, operated by Mervin and Tanya with help from the older of their nine children, who range in age from 18 to a year-and-a-half.
The shop specializes in bakery, made on-sight by the older of the daughters, with delicious cookies, pies, breads and cinnamon rolls. For those who miss the fresh offerings, there is a freezer case full of ready-to-bake frozen rolls, turnovers and cookie dough.
There is also a deli case featuring a mix of cheeses and meats, along with eggs, butter, chocolate, nuts, spices, and some produce.
“Bakery is really what we specialize in,” the Brubakers said, pointing to the large commercial kitchen on-site. “We also try to have some specialty items and some dry goods.”
They opened rather quietly earlier this month, characterizing it as “a fair start,” but the big event starts Friday with grand opening deals through Monday. The exception will be Sunday, when the store will be dark.
Grand opening specials will include butter at $2.89 a pound, with a limit of five pounds; pepperjack cheese at $3.19 a pound; farmers cheese, $2.89 a pound; hickory smoked bacon, $4.29 a pound; and artisan carving ham, $3.59 a pound. There will also be storewide product samples.
Hours are Mondays through Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Mennonite community is a durable one, and the Brubakers and their neighbors hope to fill a niche in the needs of the area for a long time.
“We certainly hope the business will keep growing,” they said.
Source: Antigo Daily Journal