The longtime owner of John Hall’s True Value Hardware greeted visitors to the store with a smile and an interest in getting to know them, downtown Goshen merchants said.
Hall, 86, died Saturday morning following an illness.
Several downtown business owners said they would greatly miss Hall’s presence in the community.
“I know a lot of people looked up to him as the essence of downtown,” Ronda Ernsperger, manager at Olympia Candy Kitchen, said Saturday.
After stopping by Olympia for a meal, Hall would always linger by the counter to greet Ernsperger, compliment the food and chat about life, she said.
Scott Woldruff, owner of Woldruff’s Footwear in Goshen, remembers Hall as one of the first people he met after moving to the area in 1992.
“John was a people-person,” he said, adding that Hall turned strangers into friends quickly.
He was also “a very, very strong merchant,” Woldruff said. He had a good work ethic and a great knowledge of his store and products.
Hall originally opened Maley’s Variety Store in downtown Goshen in 1957. That business ran until 1970, when he bought Maple City Hardware, later changing the name to John Hall’s True Value Hardware.
Maley’s sat where the Goshen Antique Mall now is, according to Antique Mall owner Shari Nofziger.
Hall especially liked to chat with Nofziger and her husband about Maley’s and what he did there.
“I think people like that he represented the downtown small store owner,” she said. “He always took time to talk to you, converse with you, get to know you.”
Hall “always had a big smile and when you would walk in he’d always go ‘Hey, how’s it going?’” said Myron Bontrager, owner of The Electric Brew and pastor at Downtown at 8:08. He made you feel like you were best friends, Bontrager continued.
Hall’s obituary is on page A6 of today’s paper.