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At Juniata Lumber & Supply, resilience and recognition

Mifflintown, Pa.-based Juniata PRO Lumber & Supply has been named the winner of the 2012 Paul L. Cosgrave Memorial Award.

The award is presented annually to PRO Hardware retailers that show superior commitment to the principles and ideals of effective hardware merchandising. It is named for PRO Hardware’s founder Paul L. Cosgrave. 

The award marks a strong comeback for the retailer, which two years ago faced an uncertain future. In 2010, the store, then located in a flood plain in Mifflin, was forced to close when the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation replaced a bridge across the Juniata River. Company executives, including John Groninger, Rick Schell and Bill Manbeck, were faced with the decision to close or relocate.

Their decision reflected resilience and dedication, according to Shari Kalbach, managing director for PRO Group. “We chose to recognize them because the store goes above and beyond in every capacity, from serving its customers to serving its community,” she said. “Although they’ve faced some tough decisions, they have continued to be successful because of the dedication of their owners and employees.”

Joe Rhine, general manager, who began work with Juniata as a counter salesperson in 1991, said that even when the location in Mifflin was forced to close, the store’s staff worked hard to serve customers. "For eight months, we worked out of office trailers and storage pods on the construction site and delivered out of our New Bloomfield location," he said.   

The new store, which opened in 2011, is a complete home center, offering hardware products, plumbing, paint, electrical, tools, building materials, lumber, housewares, windows, doors and more. It also features customer-friendly bright lighting and wide aisles. In the fall, the store plans to construct another storage building that will hold roofing products and long lumber. Since space is limited to merchandise building supply products, Juniata constructed a display area across the rear of the store to promote ceiling tiles, doors, tubs and shower units, water heaters, faucets and related products.

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