Co-owners retiring after long, successful run


After 90 years in business, the Old Tavern Food Products specialty grocery store, 230 S. Prairie Ave., is closing, co-owner Jill Strong has confirmed.

The store, famous for its sharp cheddar cheese spread, has been family-owned throughout its history. Paul Strong, Jill's father, founded the business in 1926. The store is closing its doors for good on April 15.

Jill Strong said she and her sister, co-owner Gail, are retiring, which is the reason for the closure.

The business, which began all those decades ago in a small building with only three items for sale, celebrated its 90th anniversary last year. Old Tavern now offers more than 200 cheese products, nuts and chocolates, meats and gift items,, and the brand is well-known at the local and area farmers markets where the Strongs have exhibited for years.

Jill Strong, who confirmed on Feb. 28 that the business would close, said the store has begun a retirement sale, which includes the store's cheese products, storage units and collectibles. Orders can be made in-store or online at

According to Old Tavern's website, the company expanded over the years to four buildings, until 1968 when it moved into its current home on Prairie Avenue.

"It's been a wonderful life for sure," Strong said.

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