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It all worked out and, she said, “They’ve done a fine job. We were always very proud of them.”
Swedish potato sausage
Although much changed over the years, the store remained well-known for its deli items made from scratch and its hand-cut meats. The store has supplied a dozen bars with meat for raffles, Sauter said.
Right now, the future of Soderquist’s Swedish potato sausage, which the store has sold since 1926, is up in the air, she said. The sausage came from her great-aunt Minnie. It’s a secret family recipe.
Since the store announced its closing in early October, it has made more than 700 pounds of the sausage, more than half of what it sells in a year.
What makes it unique? Fresh potatoes, along with the “perfect blend of beef and pork and of course, the secret recipe of seasonings,” she said.
Sauter hopes to find the right company to continue making it. “We have had preliminary discussions with several suitors in this regard but nothing has been agreed to,” she said, adding, “It is our heritage and we would like for it to be our legacy.”
‘Service down to a T’
Doreen Pelkey started working at the store as a way to get out of the house, she said.
That was 35 years ago. Along the way, she has done all kinds of jobs at the store. One reason she’s stayed on is that she admires the Soderquists. “The entire family has given a lot to the community,” she said.
“I can remember when it would rain, Donald would walk ladies to their cars, with an umbrella,” she said. “He had customer service down to a T.”
At times, employees would do things like jump-starting someone’s car or delivering groceries to customers’ homes, at no extra charge.
The store also has sent hundreds of cards and flowers to people over the years.
Laverne Johnson has shopped at Soderquist’s for decades. When she moved to the area in 1965, “The Soderquists were the first people I met. They went to our church.”
Often, her grocery runs became social outings.
“Lorraine showed me how to face the products on the shelves, joking that if I wasn’t going to be shopping I would have to work,” she said. “It’s such a family. We’re all so close. It makes you feel good to come in. I’m going to miss it very much.”