NEW CUMBERLAND - A new New Cumberland business stands poised to take advantage of the energy industry's interest in Hancock County as well as meet the needs of outdoor enthusiasts.
ORCA Outdoors, featuring quality outdoor apparel, footwear, equipment and sporting goods, is now open in a 2,000-square-foot storefront in The Plaza, 607 N. Chester St./state Route 2.
Owned by brothers Ted and Patrick Arneault and managed by Patrick's wife, Ami, the shop features some of the biggest names in the industry Carhartt clothing, Rocky footwear, knives and outdoor watches by Invicta. They also stock fish bait, deer lures by Smokey, power drinks by Colorado Buck and a line of sports nutrition bars developed by an area resident.
"We were looking at what businesses were needed here," Patrick Arneault said. "Up to now if you wanted quality outdoor (items), you had to drive" to Robinson Township, Pa., or Triadelphia.
"And with the Marcellus and Utica shale boom, those workers are going to need heavy duty outdoor gear."
He said he and his brother have worked in the oil and gas industry before in Marietta, where Ted had a drilling rig.
"In the late '70s through the '80s, there was a big oil boom (in Marietta)," he said. "Marietta went through what New Cumberland is going through now."
Patrick Arneault figures their background in the oil and gas industry gives them "a pretty good feel" for the kinds of change the community will undergo and what workers in the drilling industry will need which, as it turns out, also are items needed by outdoorsmen, another of their passions.
"I love to hunt, fish, kayak," said Patrick Arneault, an Army veteran, "and before this if I wanted something for outdoors, I'd usually have to go" outside the area.
ORCA also will be home to the Ohio River Catfish Association, an organization promoting catfish tournaments on the Ohio River, its backwaters and area lakes. For a $25 annual introductory membership, members will be able to take advantage of discounts on tournaments as well as receive a monthly newsletter plus technical advice.
His brother, Ted, said he wanted to invest in a business locally.
"I've always believed in the enormous promise of both the Ohio River and the Ohio Valley," Ted Arneault said. "The backbone of our economy is small business, with small businesses making up 97 percent of the businesses in West Virginia according to federal statistics."
Ami Arneault, who will manage the store, said there are many outdoor enthusiasts in the area, "and we're looking forward to assisting them as they prepare" for those outdoor activities.
ORCA is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It is closed Sundays and Wednesdays and can be reached at (304) 564-7072.