‘Mom’s’ caters to locals, welcomes visitors

by Sam Eggleston
The apple pie still was warm as it was handed over the counter to the hands of the eagerly awaiting customer.
0907lop“Karen just made it,” said Betty, an employee at “Mom’s Place” in McFarland. The store, located on M-35 between Gwinn and Rock, smelled like cinnamon apples on the first truly warm day in June. Apple pie was a perfect combination with summer starting to shine outside.
“You’re going to like that,” Betty said.
She would know. Most of the faces that come in and out of the McFarland store are familiar ones—locals who have been born and raised in the area or moved to the Turin Township location and never bothered to leave.
The owner of the store, Karen Lancour, is one of those people. She was born and raised just a few miles from where the store has been operating since the mid-1960s when “new” M-35 was built. Back then, Burt Hansen owned the store, which at one time burned to the ground and had to be replaced.
“I remember it burning clear as day,” said Duane Englund, a lifelong resident of the area. He was in fifth grade when the fire started and watched as a woman jumped from the second story window, retrieved a ladder and saved her family. “I’ll never forget that.”
The newest incarnation of the store has gone through several owners through the years. Burt and Eugene Hansen were the primary owners until a few years ago when Laurie Hansen took it over along with a gas station in Rock. It wasn’t long before the store was being considered for sale.
That’s when Karen Lancour came along. Laurie Hansen and Cindy Soyring, her daughters, and Betty Eggleston have helped her run the store with the rest of her family, many of whom live in the McFarland area.
“I couldn’t do it without them,” said Lancour, who retired from her jobs as a restaurant owner and postmaster of the Rock Post Office before purchasing the store. “If it weren’t for Betty and Cindy, this place would never make it.”
Lancour said the little store has some unique attributes. Unlike many community-based stores these days, McFarland’s store still offers a meat counter, which includes lunch meats, steaks, store-ground burger and much more. In addition, Lancour turned a love of cooking into an additional draw, offering up hot food items and homemade soups every day.
With the summer months upon the area and the temperatures rising, the McFarland store recently made another addition to their offerings—hand-dipped ice cream cones.
Lancour and her employees also run a catering business out of the store, which allows them to be much more versatile than a regular run-of-the-mill mini-mart.
“It’s not something you’re going to get rich doing, but it’s worth doing,” she said.
The support from the local community and the camps in the area helps keep the business going, she noted, but added that visitors along M-35 are more than welcome. For more information about the store or about Lancour’s catering business, call 356-6249 or 356-6244.

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