Hey! I’m getting good at this?

Well, now I have MORE info for ya! Our new Summer Hours will begin June 2… we will be closed on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday, we will be open 10-4. Fridays, we’ll be there for ya from 10-7 (and don’t forget the Creativity Nights!) Saturday and Sunday we’ll be open 10-2 and I’ll be planning a monthly Sunday Brunch! We WILL BE CLOSED on May 28 through June 1 for Dale and Bobbi’s 19th Wedding Anniversary. Thank you for understanding. We love love love eachother and take our anniversaries very seriously! We also love YOU so please be sure to stop in and make any suggestions!

NOT Computer-Savvy

Here I am again… It’s Bobbi and I don’t know how to work this crazy thing! Again, I ask for your patience as I learn…with Stephanie in California and no other way to be taught, I have been doing my best to keep customers happy, learn about this website and all of the computer shenanigans required for optimal info output, drive around all the gorgeous little towns where we buy our products from (which has been absolutely FUN!) and pay the bills! HOWEVER! I have come up with a few fun items that you may wanna know about! We will definitely continue with our monthly Wine Downs and we have a special MOBILE WINE DOWN PARTY BUS coming up on Friday, June 16th! Reserve your spot by prepaying at The Butter Churn SOON! Only 30 seats available! For $35, you can ride the Party Bus with your purchased bottle of wine, enjoy snacks along the way as we travel from The Butter Churn just after 5pm to beautiful Creekside Vineyards Winery in Coal Valley for their Firefly Festival! Admission and a free drink ticket and entry into Creekside’s  drawing and a ride back to The Butter Churn in Woodhull is also included in the ticket price! Our May Wine Down is scheduled for Friday, May 19 and Chad Sanders will be playing his jazzy stylings and we will have LavenderCrest wines for tasting, as well as Country Girl Fudge… which should go very well with the LavenderCrest Chocolate-Based Wine! Every Friday is Creativity Night and some are PAINTING PARTIES! WHEW! I’ve got Too Much Info to get out here… hopefully, I’ll do it right? Well, here’s looking at YOU, kid…

This Is A Test

…if this had been an ACTUAL emergency, I’d’ve not gotten the info out in time! But It’s only a test. Everything is, right? Hi! This is Bobbi, the new co-owner of The Butter Churn.  And I have heard that I have been lax in my upkeep of the website. My sincerest apologies! I’m not particularly computer-savvy and I’ve been learning a lot at the store these last 3 months… but here I am to fill you all in on a few things FINALLY! My husband, Dale, and I are looking forward to our future at The Butter Churn and with YOU. We have a lot of plans and ideas but The Butter Churn will remain what you love about it… and MORE! We have our own art studio, Studio2:22, that has moved in but the store is NOT becoming an art studio. Just another service that The Butter Churn can offer to the community. Friday Creativity Nights and art-themed parties of YOUR OWN are available. We still have Thursday Casseroles and Soupy Saturdays. We ALSO have TuesdayQs with Smokin’ Willies EVERY Tuesday from 11 til it’s gone! AND April will see us begin our Community Garden! Starting Saturday April 1 at 11-1:00 and EVERY Saturday in April, you can come help us “GROW”… have lunch and Be Community. More to come…


Deep Breath. Some Details. Of Course The Store Stays Open.

I swear I never learn.  Always in my head I hear “don’t share too much” or “don’t be so emotional”.

I’m really terrible at both and then the results come out muddy.  Like my post yesterday.  So, let me give you some updates.  Now I know some of you don’t care, and maybe even don’t want any updates, but I also know some of you deeply care about that store and have always found our story interesting.  And for some of you, you follow the story because you love the store, and because we’re so unconventional with our little business and the stories I write about it, that  you like to know what’s going on because you worry.

First of all, If you follow the story of our little store, you know that I live in California.  Which by itself has never been a huge deal actually.  Until recently.  And for awesome, great reasons!  My work out here as exploded, and it’s been some exciting opportunities, and a complete time changer for me.  You may have noticed that blog posts are few and far between these days.  The amount of involvement that I’ve had has needed to change.

Next, going into our second year of business we knew that we needed to make some changes.  Honestly we didn’t know what those changes were going to be for several months, but we knew that for us to keep going strong, some things were going to need to change.

So, here we are.  And the month of December is going to be a transitional month for sure.  January we hope to roll out the Red Carpets for an official ReBoot – Which is going to be awesome.  We are staying open in December.  And all the months after that too.  I am going to stay in the background.  Still involved, but less so.  The rest of the pieces we are figuring out.   Hang in there Everybody.  I know change is hard, but it is all going to be okay.

Welcome to the Next Day – “There’s a lot of Talk”

My Grandma called me today.

“Honey.  There’s a lot of talk” she says to me.  And I say “I know Grandma.  I’m sorry I haven’t written about what’s going on.”

She says “We know.  But there’s a lot of talk”

And I sigh the big sigh.

There’s a lot of talk about The Butter Churn right now and it’s not our favorite kind of talk.  It does make me laugh though.  Because there has always been a lot of talk.  3 years ago I did a survey of the town about what they would like in terms of a grocery/store/gathering place… And there was a lot of talk.  Most of it hopeful and negative.  All in the same breath.

When we opened the store – there was a lot of talk.  Most folks waited for us to fail.  Many folks talked about us with hope.  And a handful went public in their internet support and by spending their actual money there.  And a lot didn’t.

And now we need to make some changes – some of it is because the community we serve has made it clear what they actually want – and we want to provide what the need is.  And some of it is because that girl who grew up in Woodhull, who started that store, can no longer be involved in the same way.  And if you want to know specifics – you can call me 408-507-6476.  Or email me.  sfreeman5459@yahoo.com.  I would be happy to address and/or answer any questions about what is going on.

There is a family who is coming in to keep the store going though, and who has some pretty amazing and great ideas about how to serve the needs of the community.  And I love that.  And it’s going to be different.  For a little while.  And then it will be normal.  Because the foundation doesn’t change.

I started that store because I love Woodhull.

I love it.  And when I come home I breathe better.  And I feel like I am home.  And I’m excited that this experiment with The Butter Churn gets to continue because of passionate folks. Hang In There….Most of you had trepidation over the new store in first place and now you love it.  Trust that maybe this will be okay too.




Wedding Bells at The Butter Churn

About 3ish years ago I was sitting in a martini bar in Galesburg with one of my best friends Sara and her boyfriend Seth (you may remember Seth from this post).  I was all fired up about this idea I had.  I look back now and it’s so stereotypical what I did…. I drew a diagram on a napkin, of a store, that I thought needed to be in Woodhull.  They politely listened and gave each other those looks that couples give each other when one of their friends sounds crazy but they love that person anyway.  And they never actually said I was crazy, actually, they were in the smallish minority of people who said “Why not?”

There were (as followers of our Butter Churn story know) lots of reasons why not.  But faith and the belief that it was worth trying made the insurmountable seem possible.

And next month they are also going to embark on a journey where the statistics aren’t great, and there’s lots of reasons to not do what they are going to do….  But faith and the belief that it’s worth it… Well, they are getting married.  At The Butter Churn.

When I think about the story of The Butter Churn – and then I think about the story of these two people – The Parallels are undeniable.   And I feel so honored that these beautiful people want to officially mark this enormous milestone of their lives at a place that truly only exists because of love, sheer determination, and the support of others.

Which is also so much of what Marriage is about.   People who decide to take a Leap of Faith are my favorite kind of people.  Because it can be so very scary, and so very, very worth it.  Sara and Seth are the kind of people who leave things more beautiful than they find them.  They both have lived lives that have included tremendous amounts of joy, and unspeakable amounts of sadness.  And rather than live in a place of fear and unwillingness to take a chance, they instead decided to hold hands.  Look to the Future.  And face it together.  As a team, as Husband and Wife.

It would be easier not to do that.  It would be easier to site all the divorce statistics.  Or the articles that say people don’t find value in marriage anymore.

Just like it would have been easier to never open The Butter Churn or dream of it’s existence from 2000 miles away.  It would have been easier to listen to the statistics of how businesses fail.

Instead there is a moment where time can stand still and there is a realization that it would be worth the potential fall to do what your heart is leading you to do, rather than to follow the seemingly safer path and not take a risk.  And in that moment, you may realize that the bigger risk is to do nothing and the “safer path” is really a lie.  So you take a deep breath, and in Sara and Seth’s case, grab hands and say “YES”


What an amazing honor it will be to have this event at The Butter Churn.

Thank you Seth and Sara.

Exit 32


This trip, it’s the humidity that hits me first.  We stepped out of the airport from the artificial cold of the airport air-conditioning into the dampness of the outside.   My girls and I make our way to the rental car that we have to have this trip because we’re home for a good long stretch and it’s just too much with all of our schedules to try and manage without a car.

And we drive.  The kids chatter at first.  We’re so happy to be here.  I’m so happy that they are happy to be here.  I love that at ages 13 and 11 when we talk about going to Illinois they say “When?!?  Soon?  Let’s go now.”

And as we drive the landscape begins to change.  It turns into the stretches of green that sometimes makes my chest feel tight when I’m away from them for too long.

Time stops a little as I drive.  When I was a kid I was fascinated by stories about travelers, driving in the night, the only light to be seen was from the yellowed headlights and the orange burn of a cigarette.   I find my mind wandering as I drive, I drift between feeling every bit of 41 with my women-children in my car with me, and feeling like the teenager that I was…  It felt like I was a teenager for soooooo long.

And we are there.

Exit 32.

It doesn’t look like much, exit 32.

It would be easy to drive right by.  If you are coming from Galesburg, it’s the first exit that you come upon for 14 miles.  If you are coming from the Quad Cities you wonder if you should take 150 or 74, and either way, if you blink, you could miss Woodhull.

This is the exit where I start to breathe easier, but also where my heart begins to pound.  As I get to the end of the ramp I turn right.  And my car goes around the bend and I know it’s just a matter of moments before I see my Great-Grandma’s house.  If I look to the left I can see my Grandma’s house through the yard of her neighbors (and when I leave my Grandma’s she will stand on the stoop of her house and wave and we will smile and swallow a hard swallow as we drive away, but quickly looking through that same spot).

I pass 2nd street and see where my friend Liz used to live.  I turn Left onto N. Division Street.  I see the water tower.  And that weird buried building that was always there that as a child we didn’t know what it was.  If I glance to the right of 17 down Division towards the cornfields I can almost see my best friend’s house and some bikes on the road and hear the grumble of almost teens wondering when they are going to get out of this po-dunk town.   And I realize that I’m musing some old lady musings and that the only kids on bikes are the ones from my memories.

I turn on N. Division and the street is the same and yet so different.  There is a new community center building that wasn’t there when I was a kid.  The lumberyard is still there… sort of.  The building is there, but the lumberyard is gone.  As a kid Jodie and I used to play in the newly built hog houses – the most perfect play structures for us to hide and trade some Lisa Frank stickers.

The pharmacy is still there – but it’s not a pharmacy anymore.  It’s a church and doing well.  As a pharmacy I used to go in and buy Jolly Ranchers, Laffy Taffy, Carmex, and get Green Rivers.  Once I got thrown out because, well frankly, I was probably being an annoying kid and deserved to reprimanded.

And then I see it.

The Butter Churn.img_7161

How is it possible to be homesick for something that is so new?   My heart pounds a little, and I get nervous.  Whenever I’m home I don’t really do well talking to folks, I feel a bit like a voyeur.  I want to sit in the corner and soak it all in, the people that I love, the place that makes me feel melancholy and proud and alive and then someone will say “Steph!  How are you?” And I smile, then probably look away even though I value eye contact, and try not to cry as I say “I’m well.  It’s so good to see you”  Because it is SO good to see them.

And I will listen to the stories that visiting people will tell us about how The Butter Churn has made life a little nicer for a relative that lives in town.  And the reason they are in the store is because they wanted to see for themselves the store where their mom/dad/grandparent/relative now shops and talks about.


And I will watch the babies play.

And if I’m lucky, most of the time I will go unnoticed.  And write a blog post, not for the people of Woodhull necessarily, but for the rest of us that come from small towns.  Folks that go back, and it’s different and terrible and wonderful.

For all of us though – go support your small businesses.  They need you.  It’s not enough to wax poetic about the sweetness of your town (either from the past or present) and not spend some money there.  All of these small towns are fueled by the small businesses of people who are helping to create memories for everyone else and feeding their families.

Exit 32.  Who knew that it would be a place that would change everything?