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Ron Lahout can still hear his late father, Joe Lahout, banging on the pipes to get his attention from the family ski shop downstairs. The brothers attribute that sound as one of many fond and funny memories from growing up at Lahout’s - America’s Oldest Ski Shop. After taking over the business, today they own and operate eight stores at six locations across New Hampshire, keeping the fourth-generation Lahout's legacy alive. Retail Across America’s road trip stopped by their shop in Littleton where This is Retail spoke with the family about its humble beginnings and how their history has kept them a part of the community since 1920.
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Before it was America’s Oldest Ski Shop, Lahout’s was an old-fashioned grocery store started by Herbert Lahout nearly 100 years ago. It wasn’t until his son, Joe Lahout, developed a passion for skiing and being outdoors in the mountains that the shop started to transform into a clothing and ski store. At one point, Joe says, customers could buy beer and cheese in one corner of the store and a pair of skis in the other.
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Through the photos and memorabilia that hang on the walls, Lahout’s customers are reminded of the history and tradition that came before. That same history can be reflected in the many generations that still shop there, as well as several employees who have been with the company for more than 30 years; the sense of community is only set to continue with the next generation of Lahouts, already involved in the business. “There is a sense of pride in it — of continuing the tradition and keeping the store’s core values in an age that is completely opposite of 1920s New Hampshire,” says Anthony R. Lahout, son of Joe Lahout Jr.
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