The Wilson Grocery Store, identified simply as "Store" in this 1952 photo, was built and operated by Don and Verona Wilson, who came to Soldotna from Oregon.
A small front room was the store and the Wilsons lived in back. They only sold staples, no produce. If the Wilsons were absent for a few hours, a sign on the counter read, "Take what you need, leave the money." As quaint as that sentiment is, when they eventually closed the store they were still holding thousands of dollars of credit slips.
The Wilsons passed out a rare fresh orange to every Halloween trick-or-treater, and they gave a fireworks display for the community on New Year's Eve. They offered water from their artesian well behind the store for community use. Folks without wells would fill containers and even 50-gallon drums. The building can is still at its original location on the Sterling Highway in Soldotna where it is occupied by Johnson Brothers Guide Service.
Ray Sandstrom's house, the photographer of this picture, is seen in the background. This text was written by Marge Mullen and Alan Boraas. The photograph is part of the photograph archives of the Anthropology Lab at Kenai Peninsula College.
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