By Katie Demeria
WINCHESTER -- Jno. S. Solenberger, a True Value hardware store, is 126 years old, and going back to its roots.
The business carried hunting supplies, including guns and ammo, until the mid 1960s, according to Patti Solenberger, but removed the supplies in order to make room for other merchandise, which was categorized as the gift department.
But since then, the needs of the company's clients have changed.
"When gas prices went up and the economy changed, we noticed people started avoiding that section," Patti Solenberger said. "So we cut things back."
The removal of the gift department has allowed the hardware store to once again offer hunting and fishing supplies. They hope to start selling guns within a year.
"We've found that it is a natural fit for our clientele," Solenberger said. "We believe it's going to be really popular."
And while they are reintroducing some of their more traditional products, the business is also sticking to another tradition -- keeping it in the family.
Solenberger hardware has been family owned and operated since it opened. Solenberger's husband John is of the fourth generation, and their daughter Jaime McManigle, who recently started working at the store, represents the fifth.
"I think each generation has a passion for this business," Patti Solenberger said.
Jaime McManigle's husband Seth McManigle was, according to Patti Solenberger, a great addition.
Seth McManigle started with the company two years ago, and has since fully taken over the store's hunting and fishing headquarters.
The work has been a positive experience for Seth McManigle, as well -- he said it has always been his dream to run a fishing and hunting supply store.
"I started hunting in 2006 or 2007 with my dad," he said. "And I just loved it, and I've always liked fishing."
The store only just started offering ammo about a week ago, and already customers have purchased several boxes.
"A lot of people are excited about the ammo," he said. "And I've already sold several tree stands."
Patti Solenberger said the section will continue receiving new merchandise until the hunting and fishing supply's grand opening, which will be marked with a car show and camo event from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 6.
But Seth McManigle has not only been busy collecting the merchandise. He has spent a great deal of time building the structures in the section, including a handmade, wooden counter and a triangular fence on which to prop the tree stands.
He also created a set of picket boards displayed above the fishing supply supporting old fishing and hunting objects, including his father's old tackle box, tying in the family aspect of the business once again.
"I'm pumped," Seth McManigle said. "I've had a couple sleepless nights over it, though. It's been stressful. I want to make sure it's useful, and I have a ton to learn."
Contact the store by calling 540-662-3457 or visit the store at 832 Berryville Ave.
Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org