2014-07-29 / Front Page

Cataract General Store Looks To Expand Offerings, Events Under New Ownership

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer


The Cataract General Store recently reopened under the new ownership of local couple Kathy and Scott Kuntz. The store is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Staff Photo) The Cataract General Store recently reopened under the new ownership of local couple Kathy and Scott Kuntz. The store is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Staff Photo) Freshly stocked with many of its traditional staples, along with a variety of additional merchandise, Kathy and Scott Kuntz are working hard to provide a unique experience to patrons of the Cataract General Store.

Once known as the longest continually operating general store in the state (since 1860), the North Cataract Road location formerly owned by Karen Snyder and her late husband, Wayne, briefly sat idle before being reopened earlier this summer by the neighboring Cataract couple.

Although many of the store’s famous antiques and collectables were sold at auction, the Kuntzs have invested time and money to provide customers with an array of merchandise. Typical grocery items are stocked, along with a variety of fishing equipment, bait, and camping staples.


Cataract General Store proprietor Kathy Kuntz, right, waits on local resident Sheila Robinson at the nostalgic stop on North Cataract Road. (Staff Photo) Cataract General Store proprietor Kathy Kuntz, right, waits on local resident Sheila Robinson at the nostalgic stop on North Cataract Road. (Staff Photo) Kathy said the couple has made it a point to stock nostalgic items for customers to enjoy, including several novelty sodas.

A large sign that once hung outside the store will be replicated by local painter Don Meeks on an adjacent barn reading, ‘See Indiana’s Niagara on the Beautiful Eel River.’ Meeks also donated the old gossip bench purchased in the auction.

“It’s from an old church with handmade nails in it,” Kathy said.

Several Cataract General

Store souvenirs are available for purchase and the couple is always searching for local residents with photos of years past, currently seeking snapshots from the 1970s and earlier.

“We’ve lived right down the street (from the store) for 14 years,” Kathy said. “We knew Karen (Snyder) had been trying to sale it for the last few years. We thought about it and then we thought about buying the old school house. About the time we decided to do something with the school, Michelle (Roy) bought it. So when the store went up for auction we thought, ‘Well, we don’t want to just see it fall in.’ You see so many of these little places fall in. We were okay if we got it (at auction) and okay if we didn’t, but we were really kind of surprised when we got it... then we wondered what we were going to do with it!”

Three glass display cases were purchased by the pair, while Snyder held auctions for knives and guns, signs, remaining store contents and the property.

A hitching post for horseback riders and horsedrawn buggies is planned on the north side of the building.

A side yard has been transformed into a new picnic area with tables and an open grassy area where the pair grill hot dogs, hamburgers and a specialty grill item each weekend. Sacked lunches are also available and large orders can be prepared by calling ahead.

“We’re hoping to have local musicians bring their guitars and instruments down to jam,” Kathy noted. “The foundation of the old Bidwell house is still here and I’m going to use the stones to make paths. We also used some to make the ‘Bidwell Fire Pit.’

“The outhouse on the property was built by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) during the Great Depression. We want to restore it and open it to the public, because there are no restrooms here. We want to restore it and we’d like to hold a raffle to do it, where you’d win naming rights to the outhouse!”

The Cataract General Store can be reached by telephone at 765-795-4782

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