Gehman’s Store—A Wonderful Place to Explore

Posted: June, 2013 | Luann Zambanini

When I was a little girl a few years ago—okay, a few decades ago—I lived in Bally. If I had a project to do and needed one sheet of blue and one sheet of green construction paper, I knew where I could purchase these things for a few cents. Gehman’s Store was my answer. The construction paper that was sold by the piece was on the top shelf on the right hand side of the store, near the back counter. Miss Sarah Gehman would always be the one to help me with whatever I needed when I went into her store. My parents’ anniversary gifts would come from Gehman’s. I can still remember my pride when I purchased for my parents the coolest cookie jar —one that looked like a jug.

The history of the store in this building started in 1918. The building was purchased by Eli Gehman and his brother Harvey Gehman. Their main profession was optometry, but another part of their business was clock and watch repair. In the building, they also had a variety store stocked with school supplies, notions, toys, and household items. The store has been operated by a member of this Gehman family since its beginning. I, personally, worried that Sarah’s death in 2000 would be the end of an era, but, luckily, I was wrong: Sarah’s niece, Patricia, has taken over the store. The store is a magical place to find everything. As you enter the door, you step back in time, and you have to admire the beautiful glass cases, old wooden shelves, and the old fashioned wooden floors that have been there for decades!

When you visit the store at 537 Main Street in Bally, you will usually notice beautiful flowers for sale, especially in the spring and fall. In summer, there will be fresh local products, tomatoes, beans, even Juddekashe [ground cherries—remember, in Deitsch & Deutsch, “J”s are pronounced with a “Y” sound] (for those PA Dutch people who know a good ground cherry pie when you taste it).

There are products from A to Z available in the store. Let’s see, there are aprons, afghans, baked goods, cards, clocks, chow-chow, dollies & dolls, envelopes, flower plants, games, honey, ink pens, jacks, and Julie Longacre cards. There are kites, local history books, magnets, needles, odd gifts, post cards, pottery, puzzles, pens and pencils, pot holders, quick gifts, recipe books, shoe laces, telephone directories, unbelievable deals, vegetables (home grown), watches, extra special gifts, yo-yos and zillions of other things.
The services available at this establishment might be thought of by some as a thing of the past, but are surprisingly popular. You can get your watch battery changed for a very minimal price and you can even have your scissors sharpened.

Stop by on a Saturday for freshly baked goods including my personal favorite, raised cakes.
Patricia Gehman will be happy that you have stopped and will greet you with her sweet smile and cheerfulness! Stop by for a visit and find the perfect gift and pick something for yourself too! Store hours are Mondays, 12:30 PM – 5:30 PM; Wednesdays 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM; and Saturdays, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM. During May and June, Gehman’s Friday hours are 2:00 PM – 5:30 PM. Stop in soon!