Lottsville Milling Owners Have a Lot to Keep Up | News, Sports, Jobs
Todd and Wanda Johnson spend a good portion of their working day together as owners of Lottsville Milling Inc., located 17 minutes outside of Jamestown, in Lottsville, PA.
Wanda takes care of the book, waits for customers, places orders, and stocks the store and gift shop. She has devoted a lot of time and thought to the product lines and product presentation of 106 vendors.
“I love the details” she said from behind the antique brass cash register. “I still think – ideas flow.”
The expected tools, work clothes and boots are offered in the store of the country mill. Then there are the unexpected ones such as jewelry, gifts, seasonal decorations, drinkable yogurt, ice cream and even racing oil. It’s also a NAPA store, possibly the only one with custom cabinetry with antique drawer pulls, a bookcase ladder, and fancy church doors. She boasts of being able to beat other stores’ prices on LaCrosse boots and has brought back customers after reviewing them at other companies.
Behind the retail area, the 1908 factory manufactures bagged and bulk animal grains. The original beams support 450 tonnes of grain stored high up. The 113-year-old driveshaft with leather belts and pulleys is used daily to move power. Below, the molasses is stored in an 1800s tank car.
Factory work comes naturally to Todd, having been doing it for 42 years, starting as a weekend clerk while going to school. He started full time after graduation and bought the operation in 1996. He is assisted by three employees.
“He does everything,” said his wife. “He helps with everything and takes care of all the trucking and truck maintenance. He painted and restored the entire fleet.
She can be found in the seat next to him in the Freightliner, which carries 24 tons, or in their small bulk truck if he has an after-hours run in Springville, NY for food. At this time of year they may be spreading lime on nearby farms, sometimes under the headlights of an impressive 1982 Mack Superliner.
Most weeknights, whether or not they have a project at the mill, dinner is cooked in an Instapot and eaten before driving the 4 miles to their home in Bear Lake. There is rarely a night when the two of them don’t have a project going on in their 120ft by 40ft garage. Todd has furnished the space with a coffee maker and many of the comforts of home. The walls of the unique two-room garage feature many nostalgic finds from Mrs Johnson. She thought about the placement of each piece, in order to keep it uncluttered. Therefore, each piece can be seen and enjoyed.
On the back wall of one of the rooms, a red-lit Texaco sign hangs above a Chevy bow tie, the emblem that has been found on Chevy cars and dealerships for over 100 years. . A Wayne Feeds sign hung from the factory hangar for many years is on an adjacent wall. A Coca-Cola sign from the late 1920s and early 1930s hangs nearby. Three pendant lights from a Johnny’s Hot Dogs franchise in Cranberry, Pa. Hang over one of the workbenches. The wooden floor of a bowling alley serves as a top for the benches. Two large red, white and black Johnny’s Hot Dogs signs, one vertical and the other horizontal, fill the spaces on two walls. A confessional from a Catholic church, which she transformed into a fully automated rest room, is located near the opening between the two large rooms.
The washroom, like the rest of the building, is not the dirty, oily area you would expect to find in a garage where almost daily mechanical work is done, but the worker does not need to touch the switch. lighting or handles. the sink.
The two main rooms of the large building house many vehicles. Some use the Johnson regularly, but most are either future projects, drag racers, or the couple’s. “babies.”
The condition of the garage is misleading, as there is a lot of activity in this space. A mechanical job, bodywork project, or both are usually in progress. To a visitor, it looks like Mr Johnson can fix anything to do with cars and trucks. He is a self-taught body man.
The couple share many interests. Among them is their passion for drag racing. Mr Johnson’s 1978 Chevy Malibu two-door wagon was built 26 years ago. The car had four doors and no engine when it was handed over. It has undergone many modifications, including the addition of a shovel on the hood. In 2011-2012, the couple, assisted by their son, worked 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly for 5.5 months to build Ms Johnson’s 1939 Plymouth drag car. The car is equipped with a 540 cubic inch large block Chevy engine.
“I wanted it to be different” said the owner. “It’s a girl’s car. I wanted it to be unique.
As with everything she does, the drag racer has given a lot of thought to the choice of paint and design for her car. It opted for Hyundai Beige for the upper part and White Diamond Pearl, a Cadillac color, for the lower part. The two colors are divided by a flowing ribbon painted in Pink Kandy from House of Color. She named the race car well “Tickled Rose.” The photos taken at each stage of the construction were transformed into a picture book. The Johnsons later used the same colors and design when they painted the golf cart they use on the track for the cars towing vehicle.
The runner ran for 11 years and her husband ran for 13 years.
“I cheered for two years,” she said with a smile.
She runs a quarter mile in an index class at 140 mph and does nostalgia races, which includes cars from 1972 and older. She faced Steve Miller of the Steve Miller Band in Beaver Springs, PA.
“The reaction time is important”, she said. “Much is won or lost at the start line.”
She typically runs 10 to 15 weekends each year and her husband 10 weekends in New York City, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. They raced when there were between 50,000 and 60,000 fans in the stands and when there were only a few. Their cars are tuned according to weather conditions.
Ms Johnson has a second ’39 Plymouth that she found on the internet which she named Eddy. The couple are the third owners of Eddy, which has 31,000 original miles. Eddy has an interesting patina after being left in a field for many years before being adopted.
For their daily transportation, the couple drive a 1981 Mercedes and a 1984 Mercedes. They keep a 1983 Mercedes for a parts car. From the top of her head, Ms Johnson made a list of the other vehicles they owned, including a 1939 and 41 Buick, a GMC 40 truck, an Impala 62, a nova 70, a GTO 67 convertible, a Pontiac LeMans, ’55 Chevy and a ’69 Karmann Ghia.
In the near future, the ambitious couple plan to convert part of a 1959 Cadillac into a sofa. In their spare time, they do appraisals for people wishing to sell their vehicles.
When asked where they got the motivation and energy from, Ms Johnson replied: “If you’ve got motivation, goals, and a vision, you’re working for it.”
Todd has lived on the property his entire life, buying it from his parents many years ago. Not only did the Johnson’s build new buildings, they also made a lot of changes to the house. They are preparing a building that they will use for painting vehicles. The four-acre rural property, which they spend three hours mowing each week, has come with a view. On a clear day, they can see the Valley View cheese factory in Conewango, New York and can also watch the fireworks that take place around Lake Chautauqua.
Their son, Tyler, a molding engineer for Honda in Russells Point, Ohio, followed in his parents’ footsteps. Not only did he contribute to some of their projects, but he also had a few. He started a five-year restoration project on a Chevelle 67 at the age of 12. Several years ago, he modified the bodywork of a 1990’s John Deere 200 tractor to add a 1937 Ford flat-head V8 engine that would allow him to reach speeds of 100 mph. His 1995 International 4700 truck project is his pride and joy. The little big truck has a 1978 Chevy double box. The gas tanks with custom steps were taken from a school bus that was found in a junkyard.
“Every day of our life has been good and it got better every day,” said the woman and the mother.