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Getsinger's Archery Shop

Getsinger's Archery Shop began in the basement of Ed Getsinger's home. Getsinger had been making arrows and, occasionally, bows for friends. The business expanded into the Getsinger garage and, around 1959, to a shop building with a 30-yard archery range on a second floor. The business was operated from around 1954 until Getsinger's death on New Year's Day, 1969.

Ed Getsinger's daughter Sue recalls:

Mom, my sister Edwina, and I all weighed and spined (a measurement of stiffness essential for matching the arrows to each other and to the weight of the bow used to shoot them) the bare shaft at some time, as well all did some sanding. But the dipping into clear lacquer and color striping was usually done by Mom--she was the best at it. Dad taught us all originally but didn't always have time for details when it got really busy. The customer picked his own colors for the identifying stripe. My specialty was making bowstrings, on a hand-jig Dad had made for the process.

Dad had learned about archery from reading about it and experimenting. He made bows at first. But bow making is very time-consuming and when manufactured bows of laminated wood became better than bows made by hand, he gave up the practice and instead traveled to many different manufacturers to find the best and sold those.

While the business was growing our everyday life went on. Dad was the Trumbull County Truant Officer, probably the only one they ever had that had been a teacher at one time, and he used psychology instead of fear on the truants and they all ended up at his friends. He probably taught some of the archery, too! Dad also taught an adult Sunday School class for years at the Vienna Methodist Church.

I married, and my husband John Zipay began to help in the shop. But then John got a job in Cleveland and we moved. We traveled home on weekends to help in the shop and to help with organized tournaments on the field course archery range in the back woods. I was pretty busy with my small children but helped when I could.

The business was bursting out of the garage so a "shop" was built with a 30-yard archery range upstairs, in about 1959. Behind the back wall of the sales counter was a regular assembly line of arrow making. Everyone in the family helped out at some time or another but Mom and Dad did the bulk of the work.

The shop was a business but it was also a hangout for bow hunters and young boys who wanted to shoot, and wives and girlfriends of archers, who also became archers. I occasionally meet and talk to some who "hunt out" at the shop and have fond memories of talking with Dad about archery and any other subject. Archery was the purpose of the shop but Ed Getsinger, with his knowledge of the sport, was the attraction.

The business had been in existence long enough for the next generation to start to learn the "trade." My oldest son had begun to make arrows, too. This was after we moved back to Vienna after living in Florida for five years. ...

The closing date is easier to state: Ed Getsinger died on New Year's Day, 1969, and since his life was so entwined with the business, it, too, died shortly thereafter.


This entry is adapted from the reminiscences of Sue Getsinger Zipay Motzer, "Getsinger's Archery Shop 1954-1969," in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), pp. 260-261.