Philipsburg gun shop aims to broaden appeal

For the CDTOctober 28, 2013 

— A Philipsburg area business has gotten a makeover.

Belding and Mull has been a small gun shop on Route 322 for years. A new upgrade aims to compete in a broader market.

Donna Hierschbiel says the idea began with billboards that were placed by a Centre County jeweler one hunting season.

“It all started with these signs that said ‘trade your guns for jewelry,’ “ she said.

Owner Fred Grauch has spent eight months making that idea into an outdoor store with more than just rifles and ammunition. The shop still has all the hunting supplies it has always sported, but a facelift gives it all a rustic theme, with rough hewn wood and shanty-style roof awnings.

“We wanted to have something for everyone,” said Grauch.

That meant a family appeal, including hunting video games for younger shoppers, although older enthusiasts were enjoying them at a sneak-peak opening on Sunday.

Another new feature is an as-yet-unnamed faux mine. Made to look like it’s been carved from rock, the mine houses a new selection of jewelry and leather handbags. The shop is running a contest to find a name for the boutique area.

The changes are only half done. Work on the front half of the building will continue for another two months or so, but the initial phase is completed just in time for hunting season and the holidays.

Philipsburg Mayor John Streno called the move “fantastic.”

“It’s nice to see something refreshed like this,” he said. “This type of business, there’s nothing like it in State College. If you want a true gun store, you had to go to Clearfield, and you had to pass through Philipsburg anyway. With this redo, we have something that can compete with them, if not nicer.”

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