Nestled among the mountains and countryside of rural Lycoming County, McConnell's Country Store offers a little bit of everything for everyone, according to its owner Glenn McConnell.
The country store, located off North Route 44 in the village of Waterville, has stood at its location since the 1920s, McConnell said.
Although it has always been considered a family-owned store, McConnell said the establishment has been in numerous family hands since its construction. McConnell is the fourth owner of the small-town business, he said, having purchased it from the Wheary family eight years ago.
Capturing the essence of its name, the store's wooden floors hold shelves of groceries, clothing, toys, gift items, hardware, sporting goods, fly fishing equipment and a deli. Outside the store is a set of gas pumps for both residents and travelers.
McConnell came into his entrepreneurship from Primus Technology Corp. in Williamsport, where he was a buyer and master scheduler for 21 years, and for the 37 years that he's lived in Waterville, the owner always saw the potential in the country store.
"I just thought it'd be something that would do good for myself and my family," McConnell said of his decision to buy the building nearly a decade ago.
Owning the store has become his full-time job, especially as the store is open seven days a week, 362 days a year, he said. The store closes for three days over the Christmas holiday, beginning with Christmas Eve, he added.
Since he acquired the store, the owner said he's made some inventory and deli changes, as well as started to promote more of the fly fishing end of the business.
He said he has planned winter trips for those who'd like to go to warmer regions for salt water fly fishing, and next fall, plans to have a group go out West to fish in states like Montana.
With the Rail Trail in place nearby and the leaves beginning to turn color this fall for those looking to take in the scenery, McConnell said he's beginning to see out-of-towners stop in.
He particularly credits the Rail Trail for not only the increase in business at his own operation, but across the businesses in the area.
"It's a nice way for families to get out and do things together," he said of the Rail Trail.
Having things to do in the small community is important, he said, and in recognizing that, the owner also runs the boat concession at Little Pine State Park, which is just a few miles down the road from his store.
"You have to have things for people to do (when they visit the town)," McConnell said. "Then they'll go to the businesses if they're there."
As the owner looks to the future, he said he's on the fence about expansion, as he doesn't want to get to the point where the operation grows beyond its means that it becomes too much to handle.
"Right now, this is a full-time job," he said. "I like doing what I'm doing and I enjoy the people. The part-time employees that I have seem to want that flexible schedule."
He plans to keep he footprint of the building the same, he said, though changes can always be made within the confines of the structure for improvement.
McConnell's Country Store is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the summer time. In the winter, the store is open 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.
Winter hours begin the second week of December and end at the start of trout season in April, according to its Web site.
For more information visit www.mcconnellscountrystore.com.