Nestled along busy Route 30 East in the tiny community of Buckstown, Duppstadt’s Country Store stocks everything from Western boots and Carhartt clothing to scented candles and alpaca socks.
Longtime proprietor Carole Duppstadt oversees the inventory of the family-owned business in Somerset County.
“At one time, I carried a lot of quilting material. Over the past 42 years, you can imagine the number of changes we’ve had,” she said, as she wandered the store.
“I’m constantly thinking of new things. I’m not behind the counter all the time. I run the business,” she said.
In 1971, Duppstadt and her late husband, Jim, purchased the business, which has operated as a general or grocery store since 1904.
Coy about her age, she joked, “I was 35 when we bought this place. You do the math.”
Family members still staff the store.
The store has evolved over the years, Duppstadt said. At one time her sons operated a chain saw and small engine repair shop. The shop at one time sold and rented cross country skis.
Work and hunting boots are still big sellers, and some mining companies send in employees to purchase footwear.
“I would say almost every day somebody will say to me, ‘I’ve seen this store so many times and I finally stopped.’ People come in browsing, looking for snacks, looking for fishing supplies. Then they see the boots and decide they need a pair of boots,” said daughter-in-law Robin Duppstadt.
“When Mom and Dad bought the store, probably 90 percent of it was groceries. But as bigger stores came into Johnstown and Somerset, you had to diversify to stay afloat,” said son Mark Dupp-stadt.
“We can’t compete with the bigger stores. That’s how I got interested in the specialty items,” Carole Duppstadt said.
Customers can pick up their hunting or fishing licenses or purchase Flight 93 memorabilia, along with snacks from beef jerky to hard tack candy.
Above the counters that display slippers, maple syrup and apple butter, coffee cups and cookbooks, trophies from her husband’s hunting trips are mounted on the walls.
Planning for the holiday season, Carole Duppstadt strategically placed Christmas ornaments, placemats and stockings along one wall.
Outside, wooden benches welcome visitors to sit a spell. The exterior sign notes the store’s “old-fashioned hospitality.”
Open seven days a week, the store attracts visitors to the nearby Flight 93 National Memorial and Indian Lake Resort, historic Lincoln Highway day trippers and seasonal campers, along with local residents.
Although family members work at the store and handle the bookkeeping, Duppstadt keeps an eye out for what she thinks will sell.
Duppstadt hopes to keep the store running and in the family as long as possible.
“It’s a commitment. It’s a labor of love,” she said.