A new business in Wakefield held a grand opening recently and brings new life to a building on Main Street.
Jim Lehmkuhl, a 1986 graduate of Pender High School, purchased the building at 226 Main Street and held a grand opening for his business, NEN Arms & Ammo, on July 24.
Lehmkuhl has been working at IPB/Tyson for the last 25 years. He is currently the Pork Industrial Engineering Manager. He has been a resident of Wakefield for 26 years.
"With the COVID pandemic I worked from home for much of last year which allowed me to spend more time in Wakefield. A friend of mine tipped me off about a building that might be coming up for sale on main street so I called and asked if I could look at it," Lehmkuhl said.
He had gotten his Federal Firearms License approximately four years ago, which allows him to buy and sell firearms.
"I was looking for something I could do on the side as I got a little older that would supplement my income, especially with retirement in the not-too distant future. I’m not necessarily a gun nut, but grew up on the farm and have been around guns my entire life. At the time I was looking for a side business, for some reason this just seemed like a good idea," he said.
Don Dinslage was the former owner of the building, which he bought from the Masonic Lodge.
Lehmkuhl said Dinslage had put a lot of work into the building and used it for his business, which was to finish or trim out the interior of new houses.
"I didn’t really know what to expect (when I went to look at the building) but as he showed it to me, I just kind of visualized what it might look like. I came home and told my wife that I was going to buy this building and she just kind of looked at me funny. But she could tell I was somewhat determined to make it happen," he said.
The building was purchased on Aug. 1, 2020, and the Lehmkuhls immediately started turning the front office into a hair salon with three chairs.
"The building was big enough that I could utilize the front to generate some income and a salon seemed logical on Main Street. 226 Salon opened up on Oct. 1, 2020. From there we started on the gun store which is located in the middle of the building and accessed from a hallway down the south side wall," Lehmkuhl said.
He noted that it took some time and some sweat equity from family and friends, but it’s been rewarding being able to bring two new businesses to main street Wakefield.
Current plans call for NEN Arms & Ammo to be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and by appointment.
"We have a nice selection of handguns and long guns and I am finally starting to get some ammunition," Lehmkuhl said.
More information about the business can be found on Facebook and the internet.
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