Lancaster family operates 'mini-mall' out of their house

November 24, 2003|JOHN T. DAVIS

If you like crafts, want a haircut or a tan, need your vacuum cleaner repaired and have been looking for a good coondog, then the white-frame house just off Danville Road on the south side of Lancaster is the one-stop-shopping place for you.

The family mini-mall at 42 Ledford Lane (you turn at Ron's Tire Shop) includes The Vac Shop, Muddy Creek Country Crafts and Candles, Tangles beauty salon and Muddy Creek Hunting Supply - all operated by various members of three generations of one family with a member of the fourth generation always close at hand.

If this single-family service and retail conglomerate had a chief executive officer, it would be Becky Horseman, who operates the crafts store. She helped her father, Lloyd Moberly, operate The Vac Shop in Danville until they moved it to the store beside the Horsemans' Lancaster house in September of last year.

Moberly, a retired state employee, has been in the business of selling and repairing vacuum cleaners since 1953. "I knocked on doors for a lot of years," said Moberly who used to sell for Electrolux.


In moving the business from Danville to Lancaster, Horseman saw an opportunity to pursue a lifelong interest in crafts. Before the move, she had used the down time at her father's Danville shop to create craft items.

"In The Vac Shop, I started out just twisting up grapevine and making swag," she said.

"I've always made things and sewn," she said. "This is the first time in my life I've actually had time to stay home and do it."

Candles are her "special thing," but Horseman's store is loaded with crafts such as wreaths, handmade folk dolls, dried flower arrangements and other unique items.

Some of those items are made by her husband, Kenny Horseman, who operates the hunting supply store when he's not working at his full-time job for Butternut. In addition to selling beagles and coonhounds, dog food, nameplates, dog boxes and coonhunting supplies, Horseman builds rustic birdhouses and other wood items for his wife's shop.

"Everybody has a hand in each other's business," Becky Horseman said. "We help each other out."

Which is where the third and fourth generations taking part in this family business come in. Becky Horseman's daughter, Lori Jo Smolinsky, an experienced hairstylist who has managed a shop in Danville, opened her business, Tangles, at the house in June. She's studying to be a nurse and needed to be able to schedule her work around her classes at EKU.

"We did it so I could work when I wanted to," she said.

Her mother also helps her keep an eye on her 4-year-old son, Jacob.

"It works for me," she said. "She can help with Jacob... We can all help each other watch him."

While looking after her family, Becky Horseman has been working to grow her crafts business. She has taken her crafts to various festivals and won the "Best Appalachian Booth" award recently at a festival at Renfro Valley. It's been slow going, she said, because "people still don't know I'm here."

Yet her experience working with her father in Danville where business "was really good" taught her that "the longer you've been in business, it gets better."

Muddy Creek Crafts and Candles is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information about the crafts store and other businesses, call (859) 792-2364.

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