- Grove City, Pennsylvania

November 26, 2013

Trader Horn's planned closing upsets many

Some staff have been with GC store for decades

By Felicia A. Petro/Senior Reporter
Allied News

GROVE CITY — After nearly a quarter century in Grove City, Trader Horn will be closing up shop – and employees and patrons aren’t happy about it.

“Everybody is very disappointed. Employees are upset. Customers told us how much they will miss us. Some get very, very upset,” said Lisa Weaver, store manager.

“We hear a lot of ‘Where am I going to shop now?’ ‘I’ve been coming here for years.’ ‘What will I do without you?’”

Weaver is the second-oldest employee at the store, with 23 years at Trader Horn.

Jeff Bevan, receiving manager, has been there the longest with 25 years.

He started working at Trader Horn when he was 18. He unloads trucks, helps customers on the floor and does general maintenance.

“Kind of a jack of all trades, I guess,” he said.

Bevan’s stayed so long because “I enjoy the work and helping the people,” he noted. And the other employees are “real friendly, like a real family.”

“I think because we’re smaller, it’s more like a family,” Weaver added. Customers “are like family, too. I’ve known customers since I’ve started and when someone’s passed, we’re saddened. You kind of fall in love with being here.”

Besides Grove City, Trader Horn has stores in Clarion, Eau Claire, Kittanning, Wexford, Prospect, Butler, Ellwood City and Penn Township in Allegheny County.

The chain is owned by Bob and Judy Greenberger, and was started by Bob Greenberger’s parents 55 years ago. He could not be reached for comment about the Grove City store’s closing.

The Grove City store is closing because it lost its lease with Cocca Development in Youngstown, which bought the building about a year ago, Weaver said.

“We couldn’t come to an agreement,” she said, not expounding on the issue.

The employees heard the news in late summer, Bevan said. “It was shocking. I figured this would be around forever, you know?”

“We’ve done real well,” Weaver added, in the borough. The rumor is that TSC is going to move into the Trader Horn building, but “We haven’t heard anything (from TSC),” she said.

TSC focuses on farm supplies; however, Trader Horn has a number of things to sell.

“A lot of people call us an old-time general store, where they had a little bit of everything,” Weaver said.

Trader Horn’s departments include hardware, housewares, sporting goods, automotive, lawn and garden – and a little food.

“We have little oddball items ... (and) a mix of everything,” Weaver said. “If you get a piece of furniture, you can get a snack. You can get a hunting license and you can fix your sink. We have mobile home supplies you don’t see a lot of and RV supplies for campers that are hard to find. We used to have a chipmunk poison, but they took it off the market.”

“My husband, Jim, comes here all the time for home projects – especially electric and plumbing stuff and small lumber things you can’t get anywhere else (in Grove City),” said Lisa Morris, Pine Township, who was shopping at Trader Horn last week.

“They have bolts and nuts; you come and get what you need. You could always find it here. The prices are good. It’s our stop for everything.”

Customers say they “don’t know where to do shopping now,” Bevan said. “I feel bad for the employees.”

The local Trader Horn has over 20 employees, Weaver said.

“The majority are full-time,” she added, with five in management/administration. Besides she and Bevan, stock person Will Menzies is the third oldest employee with 17 years, “then it kind of goes down to 5- to- 6- year range,” Weaver said.

“For some of them, it’s easy to get here. Some of my employees walk.”

A few of the employees are transferring to Eau Claire, like Bevan, who lives in Stoneboro.

“It kind of eased the blow, you could say,” Bevan said.

The Grove City store’s closing hasn’t set in for him, he added. “I’m sorry to see the place go. There’s a lot of good memories here.”

“We’d just like to thank everybody. They’ve been wonderful to us over the years,” Weaver said.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do without them,” Morris said.

Published Nov. 20, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.