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Hunting is store's niche

October 22, 1998

Cumberland Valley Trading Co.By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - As specialty shops go, the Cumberland Valley Trading Company, which caters to bird dogs and their owners, is about as specialized as it gets.

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"We thought there was a niche here. The closest store like this is two hours away," said Richard Weaver, 52, who opened the store at 1402 Lincoln Way East in July with his nephew, Chuck Weaver, 29.

Customers find their way through the store, which was once a private home, by following the birds.

The front, or grouse room, houses the general inventory, including gun dog collars, leashes, dishes, whistles, flea killer, dog beds, travel crates and some of the most sophisticated remote-control training devices on the market.

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There are items for regular dogs, too.

The pheasant room in the back has shelves stocked with bags of dog food. To its left is the woodcock room, where customers find clothes and boots tailored to upland, or small game hunters.

Chuck Weaver is listed on the business card as the proprietor. His uncle is listed as the consultant.

"Chuck knows about the business end. He used to manage a Radio Shack store," Richard Weaver said. "I've been raising, training and hunting bird dogs for 27 years, so I handle the customers and the dogs," he said.

Richard Weaver owns Dark Hollow English Setters, a kennel on Warm Springs Road. He hopes someday to merge the kennel with the store.

Weaver said 25 percent of the store's business was supposed to come from retail sales, the rest from mail-order. The owners sent out more than 6,000 catalogs to sports people, clubs and shooting preserves.

So far, Weaver said, inside sales have accounted for nearly half of the business.

Weaver retired after 30 years of teaching at James Buchanan High School in Mercersburg, Pa.

His passion is hunting grouse with his dogs. He owns three setters and trains about 15 others a year for other owners.

He raises quail and chukar partridges for training and also serves as a hunting guide.

Richard Weaver's breed of choice is the English setter. He said the dogs are gentle, loyal companions who are as adept at sleeping on the couch as in the field.

Amanda, his 3-year-old hunter, is a special attraction in the store.

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