BEAVER SPRINGS – Until a few years ago, Saylor’s Market was the best grocery shopping option in the Beaver Springs area.
When Saylor’s was sold to an owner outside the area, the market – located on Route 522 halfway between Selinsgrove and Lewistown – lost much of its appeal. Some people compare it to a grocery store.
Today, under the leadership of four local businessmen, the newly baptized Beaver Valley Country Store is thriving.
“It’s a good business. The community is really responding positively, “said Rick Maloed, one of the new owners, along with Stephen Whitmer, Aaron Whitmer and John Anthony.
“We are all local. I think that resonates with the community. We want a family grocery store. We want to be included in the community. “
Buyers seem to like the improvements they see. Louise Lepley of Beaver Springs said she has been shopping for years.
“It’s much better. It’s more fun and friendly,” she said as she paid for her groceries.
Laughing at the women behind the delicatessen, Marie Wagner, also of Beaver Springs, said she was pleased with the store’s new look.
“It’s so neat and clean,” she said. “And it’s well organized.”
Evaluating customersBuying a grocery store is not an everyday occurrence, but the suspension of COVID-19 led to a freeze on Maloyed’s hiring immediately after his first day on a new job.
He was unemployed for two months and returned to the position he had previously held for 12 years, but he and his partners talked about starting their own business.
“We were looking for something that was essential,” he said. “We know people need to eat.”
After buying Saylor’s last August, they realized that the Snyder County Valley didn’t really have a name, but with Beaver Springs and Beavertown nearby, the name “Beaver Valley” – and therefore their store – seemed obvious.
“It’s a beautiful valley,” Maloyed said, noting that the store serves people in western Snyder County, as well as Lewistown, Mifflin County and the surrounding area.
The main strength of the store will be its range of groceries, including sections for products, delicacies and bakery products, as well as external gas pumps.
“All four of us have never owned a grocery store before,” Maloyed said. “I love community communication. I like to meet people. I am very grateful for their business because I know they can choose to go anywhere else. I am grateful that they chose to shop here. I’m honest about that. “
When asked about popular items, one of the first things he thought of was donuts.
“People like to comment that our stuffed donuts have a lot of stuffing,” he said.
The bakery has been a staple in the store for years, and its popularity continues with bread, sticky rolls and other items. On a recent donut day, Maloyed came in at 3 a.m. to help bakers make 1,086 donuts. For the Easter weekend, they decorated 20 sweets and sold all but one.
“The bakers are very good,” Maloyed said.
Another item with which the store became famous were hoagies.
“We have people who drive 25 miles to get our hoagi, they like them so well,” Maloyed said.
The atmosphereImprovements that Maloyed and his partners have already made include new lights in the store and some landscaping at the front. They hope to paint the roof green and put up signs to advertise their bakery and delicacies. Right next to the store is a former bank, which they hope to turn into a cafe.
“We’re excited about this,” Maloyed said. “We have a long way to go.”
Perhaps the best measure of how he and his partners should work is the fact that they have kept all the former employees who are there today.
The store is closed on Sundays, something employees and owners appreciate.
“We are men of faith,” Maloyed said. “We want to be closed on Sunday to celebrate the Lord’s Day.”
On Tuesday afternoon, during a shift, employees lingered to help each other when there was a bit of a rush to the cash register.
“They changed the whole atmosphere here,” said Cheryl Knepp, assistant manager, speaking of Maloyed and his partners. “Rick is great. He works with you. I don’t think he’s having a bad day and customers love him. They only come to talk to him. “
Cashier Bree Breniser is studying elementary education at the Penn View Bible Institute, Penns Creek, and also commented on the pleasant atmosphere and good management at the Beaver Valley Country Store.
“I like the feeling of a small town,” she said as she looked at groceries for Shane Renninger of McClure. “All regular visitors come and we build relationships with them.”
The store is a convenient stop for Reninger as he returns from work, and he likes to support small businesses.
“They are always friendly and willing to help you,” he said as he paid for his purchases.
Longtime employee Ruth Gearhart has worked in the store for more than 40 years and is now a manager. She is excited about the new leadership.
“Oh my God, it’s like a light switch. It’s just wonderful, “she said.” Such a friendly, friendly group of men. He’s coming back to a more community-oriented business than he has been for a while. We’re blessed to have these people. “
Beaver Valley Country Store, at 19678 Rt. 522 in Beaver Springs, is open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 570-658-7281 or search the Beaver Valley Country Store on Facebook.