Special People of Lake Anna – Jon And Stephanie Koren
By Amy Hager
What makes Lake Anna so special to so many people, both resident and visitor alike? Is it the clear, clean and warm water? Is it the abundant fish and birds that also make the lake their home? Is it the lake lifestyle that features both laid back and wild boat parties and places with names like Cocktail Cove, The Sand Bar, Kayakers’ Beach, Skinny Dipper’s Cove and Bohemian Bay? Or is it places like Tim’s, Anna Cabana, Anna Point Marina and High Point Marina that offer great access and good times?
It’s probably all of the above as well as 100 other reasons depending on who you ask. But if you asked folks to name what makes Anna so special it’s more often than not something that’s natural – a sunset, woods, a beach, a quiet morning or a person they admire.
In this series we’ll bring you the story of families/folks that have made sure that those that live and visit here will be able to enjoy this intrinsic beauty of the lake. These are the special people of Lake Anna and we should all be grateful for them.
This issue’s focus is on Jon and Stephanie Koren, owners of Lake Anna Tractor and Hardware.
As the owners of such a visible Lake Anna business, Jon and Stephanie Koren have quickly become a staple of the Lake Anna community.
Named the 2019 Louisa County Chamber of Commerce Business Persons of the Year, they have embraced the community since purchasing the business in 2018.
What inspired Jon and Stephanie to purchase Lake Anna Tractor and Hardware, a 22-acre property located at the corner of Chopping Road and Hwy 522?
“After moving to Louisa County and becoming involved with many organizations and people in the County, we decided we wanted to invest in a local business so that we could continue to enjoy all that Louisa County has to offer. Also, one of Jon’s dreams was to own a hardware store.” says Stephanie.
Prior to moving to Lake Anna the Korens lived in Olney, Maryland, where Jon was involved with technology companies, running sales organizations throughout the US and Canada. Stephanie continued to be active in legal, sales, and real estate industries, and raising their children. Additionally, they owned a training business to train public transportation entities.
Jon and Stephanie both love being on the water, boating and swimming; and knew that a lake would be an ideal place to settle down.
After considering several lakes from Virginia to North Carolina they selected Lake Anna for its rural setting and its proximity to their five children and their families.
When not working or volunteering Jon and Stephanie can be found boating, swimming, attending concerts, and spending time with friends. Their favorite pastime however, is spending time with their five children, spouses, and nine grandchildren.
If they could offer advice to those considering purchasing a business or starting one of their own at the lake, they want them to know that while Lake Anna is a wonderful place to own a business, like anywhere else, starting and owning a business can be quite difficult.
“If you are not ready to devote all of your energy to building a business, don’t do it. On the other hand, if you like the challenge, the rewards can be phenomenal.”
The Korens also note that Lousia is a rural county and very different from the metropolitan areas, so an understanding of the culture and lifestyle is critical to the success of a business here at Lake Anna.
Overall, Jon and Stephanie believe that the community as a whole has played a part in the success of Lake Anna Tractor and Hardware.
Part of the beauty of an area like Lousia, is there are people concerned about their neighbors and community overall.
“We are a part of that, it is what we do,” said Stephanie. Jon added, “If you are going to be a part of a community and you can’t give back to it… are you really a part of the community?”
Being deeply dedicated to the community goes back to Stephanies’s upbringing and her father’s involvement in Rotary, as County Commissioner, and Mayor. She has always tried to live by the Rotary motto: Service above self. “It is just who I am,” Stephanie added.
The Korens believe that at the end of the day, you can be an active participant in your community or not, and “we choose to be an active participant.”
They have been involved with many organizations since relocating here in 2005. Stephanie currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Louisa Arts Center, the Fluvanna/Louisa Housing Foundation, Louisa County Rescue Squad, and the Foundation for the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind.
Stephanie has also served on the Louisa County Board of Supervisors for the Mineral District. Jon is busy with the store and development of the property. They both believe in supporting the youth in our community and are heavily involved in supporting Louisa County Schools, particularly Athletics, the homecoming parade, and Career and Technical Education (CTE).
The duo is also involved with the Louisa County Chamber, the Forward Foundation “Leadership Louisa”, and the Lake Anna Business Partnership, focusing specifically on the business community around the lake.
While giving their time and leadership to the community, they want to help others develop those skills as well. They are sponsors of Leadership Louisa, which is a program hosted by the Louisa Forward Foundation, to help people in the community develop their business leadership skills.
One of the Lake Anna Tractor and Hardware employees will be taking part in the next cohort starting in January 2023. It is very important that their employees have the opportunity to grow and thrive.
Since purchasing the store, the Korens have kept on the majority of the existing employees (even through the pandemic) and added many new employees and several apprentices. They even have a furry four legged team member, Buzz, as well to meet customers as they come into the store. Lake Anna Tractor and Hardware will be welcoming more to the team in the coming months and year.
Besides growing an amazing team, the Korens are excited that their product lines have grown and will continue to. Just in 2022 alone, the retail building is going from 3,000 square feet to a total of 9,000 square feet to increase inventory and offerings. They have remodeled the interior of the store with a new ceiling, floors, and more.
Just a taste of what will be new this year: larger and improved paint section for residential and commercial, small appliances, an expanded lighting and fan selection, and cabinetry for bathrooms and kitchens.
“We would really like to thank all of our employees. We are blessed with a great group of people working with us. We would also like to thank all of our children for their support and understanding. And, we would be negligent if we didn’t give a big thank you to our local community for supporting our business.”
What is in store for the Korens and their business? They tell us they will be developing the 22 acres, adding several new buildings and more businesses.