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Progress fund breathes new life into old Laughlintown general store

| Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Evan Sanders | Trib Total Media
Kathy Moore places an open flag into the holder at new The Country Cupboard & Nature Run Wood Works shop in Laughlintown.

There is no better way to experience Americana at its best than a visit to an old-fashioned general store on Independence Day.

Chuck and Kathy Moore, owners of the Country Cupboard & Nature Run Wood Works in Ligonier, will provide such an opportunity Friday when they officially open their second store, at the former Ziders General Store, located in Laughlintown.

With funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Progress Fund of Greensburg worked for the last two years to save and reopen the circa 1873 landmark.

“The owners of Country Cupboard have all the personal and professional traits of great business people. Their existing business in Ligonier is lovely and successful,” said David A. Kahley, president and CEO of The Progress Fund. “For their second location, the location and visibility of our property is superb. It's on Route 30, in the middle of Laughlintown and right next to the well-known Original Pie Shoppe.”

The Moore's inquired about the building last year and shared their plans for the space with members of the Progress Fund in late April.

“The Progress Fund, as a community development organization, saw a workable solution to get through several problems that halted attempts by potential private buyers,” said Kahley. “We figured we could help, so we did.”

According to Kathy Moore, they were chosen because their successful business was already established in Ligonier and it was an ideal business to occupy the old country store.

“Since that time we have been moving forward and never looked back,” said Kathy Moore. “What they have done is unbelievable. Everything has just fallen into place.”

With the foundation's funding, collaboration from the Western PA Conservancy and Ligonier Township, the property has been totally rehabilitated.

“For 17 years the Ziders General Store stood empty and was especially disheartening considering the landmark status of the property and the fond memories locals had for the old store,” Kahley said.

The storefront was restored to the original design and the building was repainted to match its original paint scheme. Modern heating, plumbing and eletrical systems were installed.

“We have new vintage-style lighting and matched the original ceiling color and other paints where we could,” said Moore.

Moore said the original floor was too badly damaged and could not be saved, so they installed all new wood floors.

“The building itself is striking both for its appealing historic design which exudes all the special charm of an old country store,” said Kahley. “Kathy and Chuck's country-style offerings go perfectly with the building and the village of Laughlintown.”

The Moore's will carry most of the same items that they sell in the Ligonier shop.

“We will have some antiques on display mixed in with my husband's furniture,” said Moore.

She said, for now, they will open the first floor but plan to expand to the second floor in the future.

The building was used as a general store and post office form 1893 to 1978. It was operated during that time by Israel M. Ziders. It housed two antique shops from 1979 to 1988 but stood vacant until it was acquired by the fund organization.

The Moores will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. July 17.

The shop is located at 1383 Route 30, Laughlintown. For more information, call 724-995-8521. The Laughlintown shop will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; closed on Monday; 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday.