Couple aims to revive Donegal Grange Hall
By Linda Harkcom
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
For 75 years, the large stone building located at 333 Church Street in Donegal, served the rural mountain community as a grange hall, used for meetings, weddings, talent shows and other social events.
Events held at the hall gradually dwindled over the years until it was shuttered permanently five years ago.
But one couple hopes to breathe new life into the Donegal landmark and to someday make it the social center to the area it once was.
In August 2012, Andy and Heather Johnson of Stahlstown bought the building and have since opened a business there.
“We always wanted to have our own business, and this gave us the opportunity to buy a building that obviously had a lot of history in the community, and make it into a place the community can still come to,” Heather Johnson said.
Over the past year, the husband-and-wife team has restored parts of the building.
“We want to keep it rustic; it needed a lot of work, and we are still working hard to bring it back to its former glory,” she said.
In addition, the Donegal Grange Market is an ever-evolving business.
Andy Johnson describes its current state as a “fleatique.”
The couple began to gather the inventory that's now for sale at the store when Andy Johnson's parents downsized into a smaller home, he said.
Their inventory continued to grow as they added items from other family members and started taking on consignment items.
The couple has a wide variety of items currently available including antiques, tools, clothing, sports collectibles, crafts, pet costumes, musical instruments, home decor and household items.
“We're selling things very cheaply, so it's rewarding to know that some of the items we sell go to help people out,” Andy Johnson said.
Renee Shroyer of Donegal said she and her daughters go to The Grange Market every Sunday.
“It's really nice to have something like this in the neighborhood. They are really nice and have a lot of great stuff, too,” Shroyer said.
She said she has bought many items from the new business, including a television, washer and dryer, a bed and clothes.
“If he doesn't have something you need, he will find it,” she said.
The couple hopes the business will continue to evolve into a real community asset.
“Eventually, we want to transition it to an indoor farmer's market with homemade goods and crafts, with possibly even a coffee shop. We want to feature local craft people or people who make honey or canned goods,” Andy Johnson said.
The couple already has several craft items available and they also sell their own brand of banana pepper mustard — Peg's Mountain Mustard.
“We would also like to eventually open the building up for other activities, such as hosting a bluegrass band, or offering classes like maybe a class on canning,” Heather Johnson said.
The business is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.
In addition to the consignment inside, the couple also rents 10-by-10 spaces each Sunday for $10 each.
Those interested in more information or selling items at The Grange Market can call 724-454-3927 or stop in during business hours.
Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
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