Lange General Store – A Family Tradition
It all began with a sawyer, a river and a family farm. Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, Lange General Store in historic downtown Steelville, Missouri has mercantile family roots that go back to the late 1800’s. The old general store takes its name from the original family mercantile proprietor, H.C. Lange.
H.C. Lange was the son of German immigrants to Osage County Missouri near the present day village of Byron. One of nine children, H.C. grew up working the family farm and in the late 1800’s using the hard work ethic learned on the farm, he began a successful business venture as a sawyer and a seller of hewn white oak railroad ties that he shipped down the Gasconade River.
The family general store roots date back to 1908 when H.C. opened his first mercantile at Owens Mill a small Missouri community along the Gasconade River and then a second store three years later in nearby Byron. Todd Rehmert, co-proprietor of the current-day Lange General Store in Steelville is the great-grandson of H.C.
Rehmert and his wife, Alicia restored the old Puckett General Store building at 106 E. Main Street in Steelville. The red brick building with its original wooden floors, authentic tin ceiling, and antique store counters and fixtures was constructed just after the Great Fire of Steelville in 1904 that burned down most of the Steelville business district.
Today the store is stocked full of nostalgic candy and candy barrels, 100-plus flavors of bottled pure-cane sugar sodapop including cold bottles available in the vintage late 1940’s soda cooler, specialty roasted coffees and premium loose teas, made-in-Missouri food products, home goods and decor, kitchen gadgets, garments and classic children’s books and toys.
The Rehmerts carry on a long family tradition as merchants. In addition to being the great-grandson of H.C. Lange, another set of Todd’s great-grandparents owned the general store at Japan, Missouri which is still standing today. Alicia also has two sets of great-grandparents who owned country general stores in the rural Missouri communities of Leslie, Neier and Gerald.
Other family members in the business include Todd & Alicia's daughter Fallon Rehmert Page as Marketing Director and their 11-year old twin sons Rane and Reese (their favorite jobs are stocking soda and refilling the candy barrels!).