If American artist, Norman Rockwell, were still living, he might make a stop by Agri of Virginia to sketch out a few scenes for his Christmas art portfolio. The sparkling lights, the jolly Santas, and the crackling logs in the “woodstove” all add an air of an old- fashioned Christmas to the Broadway hardware store.
And then there’s the train.
“We have folks come in from all over just to see the train display,” says Agri manager, Randy Mongold. And, indeed, it’s hard to miss the nearly 16 -foot village in front of the check out counter. The miniature town is currently decked out in all of its holiday finery, complete with an electric Christmas train that makes endless trips around the perimeter of the set up.
The train and miniature village display inadvertently came about during the pandemic of 2020. “During COVID, we had to build a barrier around the check out counter to keep everybody at a distance,” says Mongold. The structure fulfilled its purpose, but employees soon looked for ways to make the area more visually pleasing. Eventually, they came up with the idea to fill that empty space with a model train. And shortly after the train was set up, a village grew around it.
“We change the decorations quite a few times during the year,” says Brandon Runion, grandson of the business founders Derwood and Nancy Runion. They have 45 different train cars to match the colors of the seasons. “We use pink for Valentine’s Day, and different colored easter eggs for spring. Then we change it for summer – red, white, and blue for July 4th –, and in the fall, we put out the orange and black train cars for Halloween.”
The store employees do their best to make sure customers have a pleasant shopping experience. “We want to create a cozy, downhome feeling,” says Mongold, “a place where people can just sit and talk a while.”
Agri of Virginia opened in 1972 as a family-owned poultry equipment store. After the poultry business slacked off in the early eighties, the store evolved into a farm supply and building material center. They are proud of their excellent reputation for great customer service. They carry only premium grade and #1 grade lumber. “We also have fast delivery,” adds Mongold. “Customers get their orders of stock materials the same day they order them.” They also try to keep their prices reasonable—not always easy in this economy.
Stop by Agri of Virginia and experience the feeling of Christmas past. But you’ll have to visit during the week days from 7:00 am – 5:00 pm. The store is closed Saturdays and Sundays so the employees can spend the weekend with their families. You’ll find Agri of Virginia on Broadway Avenue in Broadway.