GOSHEN — For Leroy Graber, owner of Peddler’s Village Auction, timing was everything.
After not receiving an acceptable bid for the business when it first went on the market last year, Graber sold Peddler’s Village late last week to a group of five Amish men.
Gerald Lambright started the business in 1972, and Graber began working for Lambright just four years later. When Lambright died in 1980, Graber bought the business and had owned and operated Peddler’s Village ever since.
He was relieved last week, though, when the sale was finalized. “I’m ready,” the 72-year-old Graber said. “I want to retire.”
While he was glad to turn over the business, Graber still found it difficult to make the announcement at last Thursday’s auction. “I turned around to face the crowd and there was a frog in my throat,” he admitted. “But I made it.”
Peddler’s Village’s new ownership group consists of Alan and Harley Lehman, Jason and Dennis Helmuth and Marlin Yoder.
Graber said that the group first approached him several years ago, saying it was a dream of theirs to purchase the business from him. At that time, however, they simply did not have the money to offer a bid Graber was willing to accept.
Just a couple months ago, though, the group returned to Graber and met his asking price, allowing him to turn Peddler’s Village over to the group.
Graber will be in charge of the auction one more time on Thursday. Come Friday, however, the new owners will take control.
“I’m glad we could keep (Peddler’s Village) together,” Graber said. He says the new owners will operate the business in the exact same way and hope to have a seamless transition at the end of the week.