Committed to Local Businesses Like the Altland House

Every Business Has a Story

The Altland House is one of the longest operating taverns in the US

Posted on Nov 02, 2020

When brothers Ryan and Ben Haugh wanted to grow the family business, they needed a bank that understood their vision and their legacy. As a community bank, ACNB values working alongside our customers and we’re committed to local businesses like The Altland House.

Every business has a story—this one spans three generations, more than 250 years, and has an exciting next chapter.

The longest continually running tavern in the United States

The Altland House is one of the longest continually operating taverns in the country. Started in 1750, the tavern has been on the corner of the square since before the official founding of Abbottstown.

William Penn gave the land to Mr. Abbott, and the tavern soon received one of the first liquor licenses issued in the state. In 1880, Rueben Altland purchased it, and in the 1950s the Haugh family took over.

One woman’s dream to own The Altland House

Grandma Betty had a dream to own the Altland HouseRyan and Ben’s grandma Betty grew up in Abbottstown, and started as a waitress at The Altland House when she was 15. She always told people her dream was to own the place one day, and in 1954, with the support of the community, she bought it.

“Grandma Betty was a bit of a trailblazer back in the ‘50s,” said Ryan. “She did things that people didn’t necessarily expect a woman to do. She broke barriers and did things outside the box.”

People also knew Betty as a stickler for manners. From training servers on proper technique, to teaching her grandsons with the book Manners Can Be Fun and on trips to McDonalds, she had a clear view of how to do things.

“It shaped our view of hospitality,” said Ben. “Although it was annoying back then as a kid, it for sure shapes what we do every day. It’s shaped not only us, but everyone she’s came in contact with.”

The next chapter: Growing the business to new locations

With both grandmas, their grandpa, and their father Mike showing them the ropes over the years, Ben and Ryan had a strong foundation on which to expand.

Besides the inn and the tavern in Abbottstown, their hospitality business now includes banquet and wedding facilities, catering, golf courses, and more. They oversee the food and beverage at Ski Roundtop, work with Penn National Golf Course, manage the food and banquet facility at the Wyndham Garden in York, and create craft beer through Center Square Brewing.

Their next chapter includes exciting new projects at Liberty Forge Golf Course in Mechanicsburg.

In addition to the 18-hole golf course and venue, they have also updated their Creekside family fun activities center. A driving range and mini-golf are already in place, and an updated casual dining restaurant is on the way. In the warmer months, they plan to run a float outfitter company on the nearby Yellow Breeches Creek. Their hope is to create a fun place where people of all ages can enjoy the sport of golf and the beautiful location.

Help from ACNB Bank made it possible

Local lenders make all the difference

To bring their vision at Liberty Forge to life, the Haughs relied on help from ACNB Bank and guidance from their commercial lender Grant Holub.

“The bank was integral in getting into our Liberty Forge operation,” said Ben. “When this came available, we immediately talked to Grant and it made sense all-in-all. ACNB was able to get us the funds we needed.”

Having the right bank means you have a great relationship with your lender and a trusted partner for your business.

“We use ACNB as an advisor, not just a lender. They help us work through stuff. They know our model. They have been through things with us, and it’s been great to know that they have your back. They are always there,” said Ben.

A community bank is more than a bank

At a community bank like ACNB, we treat you like our neighbor—because you are.

Like The Altland House, ACNB has been serving the community for generations. Founded in 1857, ACNB has a long history of working with local businesses and families. Not only do we know the nuances of the local economy, our team members are part of this community and we directly invest in its success.

“We have to have community members making decisions with us,” said Ryan. “Where if it was somebody that didn't know the Altland House, didn't know our history, didn't know our track record, they are making decisions based on pure numbers. You want a partner that knows your history and the community. That means that they can be in the trenches with you and understand not only your history but also your vision.”

For commercial lenders like Grant, working with local businesses means understanding the goals of the owners and being able to respond quickly to challenges. A strong relationship with your lender and your bank can make all the difference.

When COVID-19 threatened the hospitality industry, community banks and local lenders helped customers like The Altland House navigate the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and access relief funds. While many businesses waited to hear from the big banks, community banks were acting to help customers.

“Community banks and what we do in the hospitality world, I can’t see it being any other way,” said Ryan. “ACNB has that same approach and vision that we have on hospitality. They want to take care of you. They want to dive in and do the stuff outside of the box. They understand that not everything is rubber stamped.”

A family business is more than your last name

The Altland House is a three-generation family business—but being part of the family isn’t conditional on being a Haugh.

“I have early memories back in the kitchen chopping vegetables with Grandma Dot, who was my mom’s mom,” said Ben. “She taught us how to chop vegetables for the soups. There’s still a little dip where her knife cut all the vegetables for all those years.”

“Chef Matt started here when he was 15 years old pushing a vegetable cart. He’s been with us for years. He’s our lead chef. We all know that Matt is Dad’s favorite son. We joke around that Ben and I fight for the number two spot,” said Ryan.

The hospitality industry is all about care, and Ben and Ryan know the right team members are critical in creating great experiences as they continue to grow. “We can’t go table to table the way Grandma Betty could. But it’s still a family business, even though we’re serving 300-800 people a day because of our team,” said Ben.

The core values of hospitality, care, and attention to detail are as important as ever. The foundation that Grandma Betty created and the long history of serving the community that has existed for centuries is something the Haughs hope to see continue long into the future.

“If I could see 100 years from now, I’d like to see that we’re still here, that there’s still something going on on the corner of the square here in Abbottstown,” said Ryan.

ACNB Bank is proud to be part of the Altland House’s story. We’re committed to local businesses. See how we can help with your business’ next chapter.

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Thank you to AMP: Academy for Media Productions for helping create this video; the Haugh family; and the teams at The Altland House and Liberty Forge Golf Course.

COVID-19 safety and sanitation precautions were taken while filming this video.