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Written by Jennifer Frieze, Correspondent
November 15, 2018

            There is a gem of a store located in the heart of Bally.  Gehman's store is celebrating 100 years in the community. Patricia Gehman, the proprietress of the store,

Patricia Gehman, proprietress of Gehman's Store in the 

500 block of Main Street in Bally, is the fourth generation

of Gehmans to operate the family stoer which is celebrat-

ing its 100th anniversary this year.

will greet you with a warm and cheerful smile.  If you have never been there before, it is well worth the visit and a special local business to support.

            Patricia graciously shared the story of her family and store. Originally, the building at 537 Main Street was a tailor shop owned by William Schwoyer. The built in shelves along the walls used to hold bolts of material to make clothing.

            The Gehman's opened the store in 1918. The building was purchased by Eli Gehman and his brother Harvey Gehman. Their sister Clara, was the clerk for the store. Their main profession was optometry, but they also repaired clocks and watches.

            The brothers also stocked their variety store with household items, school supplies, toys, stationary and notions. After the passing of the brothers and Clara, Eli's daughter Sarah took over the store and was there for 40 years until her passing in February 2000. Thankfully, the fourth generation is running Gehman's.

            Patricia was a school teacher and started helping her aunt a few days a week

Patricia Gehman's store is a mainstay in the borough

of Bally.

when taking a respite from teaching. After the passing of her Aunt Sarah, she took over the store. Sarah's nephew, David Gehman, continues to repair clocks for the store and another nephew of Sarah's, Roland Ray Gehman, supplies the store with plants and produce that he grows.

            The store has been operated by a family member since its inception and is a special landmark in the area. I asked Patricia what her favorite part of operating the store was. She replied, "I enjoy helping people find what they are looking for. It is delightful to find what a customer wants. That is rewarding". The Gehman family follows the Golden Rule when serving customers. 

            Patricia also enjoys meeting people that travel through and is grateful for the faithful customers that visit the store to find special items and gifts. As you walk into the store, it is reminiscent of a different era. A step back in time that is a reflection of an unalloyed place steeped in tradition and local goodness. The store is a magical place to find unique items and treasures.

            As you walk in, you will admire the beautiful glass cases, wooden shelves, and lovely wooden floors that have been there for decades. It is unusual to see that type of craftsmanship these days. There are many fun and wonderful items in the store. There are local history books, handmade pottery by Roy Yoder, stationary, pens, sowing supplies, German cuckoo clocks, handmade aprons, toys, puzzles and board games such as Der Schnickle Fritz (mischievous boy), local produce, and plants during the growing season.

            There are also hand crocheted and knitted baby items, which seem to be a local favorite and make great gifts.

            On a Saturday, you will find delicious locally baked treats, cakes and cookies. In addition, to all of the above, you will find many other wonderful items at Gehman's store. You will find distinctive and uncommon items that will not be found in any big name department store.

            Stop by the store and look around. This writer is sure you will find something! Patricia will happily and cheerfully welcome your arrival.  She is modest, intelligent and hardworking and a pleasure to speak with. She will help you find the perfect gift and a treasure for yourself too.

            As the holiday season approaches, Gehman's store is the perfect destination to find that special something that can be found nowhere else. The local seasonal produce grown by Patricia's brother Roland Ray Gehman, is delicious and will make any home cooked meal better.

            Be sure to stop by soon and support a wonderful local establishment.  Their hours are Monday, 12 Noon – 3 p.m.; Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

· End of article ·  


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