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Purple Piggy Toys and Gifts Moves to the Outlet Shoppes

Purple Piggy Toys and Gifts is a toy store and gift shop co-founded by Michelle Agapakis and Keith George in 2015. The store, which was previously located in downtown Gettysburg, has recently moved to a 4,000 square foot storefront at The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg, where it offers a diverse selection of toys and gifts for birthdays, special occasions, and everyday life. “All of the other toy store names were taken,” George joked. “Michelle’s favorite color is purple, and her favorite animal is a pig; and the name was born.” This is our fourth location, and we are so happy with it because it’s better all-around for the community,” said George. “This new location makes it easier on the locals. There’s so much more space and we have free parking, which makes us a lot more accessible than we were.” “We are a unique way to visit a toy store,” said George, noting that it sells toys that aren’t sold in many other stores. “You can find anything from retro Fisher-Price toys, a classic brand that has been around for more than 90 years, to the fashionable Barbie doll and accompanying play sets.”   Selections depend on the season. In the spring, a greater selection of outdoor toys and gifts is available, while in the fall, the selection is geared towards “school-type” products. But board games, Barbies, and Hot Wheels usually sell year-round. Purple Piggy sells many types of educational toys, including STEM games, and stays away from electronics as much as possible. “The educational toys are very popular because we have many members of our community who are home-schooled, especially younger children. We have science kits, which offer a wide variety of different experiments or challenges, and we have ‘build your own robot’ toys, said George. “Our target audience is everybody. Kids love us because we’re unique and huge; grandparents love us because we have a great selection of toys and gifts. We don’t do junk, so we are not confined by target audiences or age ranges.” Purple Piggy is a continuing supporter of the local community. They have helped with food accessibility, and are currently accepting Toys for Tots donations. And they are helping to bring back a New Year’s Eve celebration in Gettysburg. George is proud that, while there are many toy stores that are being forced to close, Purple Piggy not only remains open, but continues to grow. In fact, George said the store is planning to open new locations. “It makes me happy when I see the joy that our products bring on people’s faces. I think that as a toy and gift store our number one priority should be making the members of our community happy,” said George. “I love to see the same tourists coming back and finding us year after year at different locations because they love our selection. That is how I measure our success.” The Purple Piggy is located at 1863 Gettysburg Village Drive, Suite 1010.

Totem Pole Playhouse celebrates 70 years

Nestled in the bucolic hills of Caledonia State Park between Gettysburg and Chambersburg lies a local treasure that celebrates its 70th anniversary this summer. The Totem Pole Playhouse, known to its friends as “America’s Summer Theater,” began its life in a small, converted auto shop in the 1950s and has gone on to become one of the best known and highly-regarded summer theaters in the United States. The theater was created by television producer Karl Genus and his wife Muriel Benson. “Its long history is what makes the playhouse so unique,” said Marketing Director Sue McMurtray. McMurtray said the playhouse has a long list of actors who have gone on to become famous, including Academy Award winning actress Sandy Dennis and long-time television star John Ritter. Other famous names that have played in the playhouse include Jean Stapleton, Loretta Swit, Michael Learned, and Melissa Gilbert. One of only seven remaining playhouses in the country, Totem Pole is dedicated to producing quality entertainment and shows that the community enjoys.  The Playhouse, which the New York Times has called the “Cadillac of summer theaters,” is currently in the height of their summer 2022 season. The season has included the popular shows “Always… Patsy Cline”, “The Sound of Music,” and “Beehive.” Currently running through August 14 is the Ocsar-nominated 1998 show “Footloose: The Musical.” which follows the trials of a big-city family that moves to a small town. The music is by Tom Snow (among others), the lyrics by Dean Pitchford (with additional lyrics by Kenny Loggins), and the book by Pitchford and Walter Bobbie. The season concludes with a run of “Love, Sex, and the IRS,” from Aug. 19 through Sep. 4. “Attendance, of course, makes the summer season successful,” said McMurtray, noting that choosing the proper shows was critical. “Artistic Director David Hemsley Caldwell selected the shows,” she said. “He bases the selection on titles and the number of people in the cast. The theater chooses productions based on how well known they are to the public.” “A lot of locals came to see the productions of ‘Footloose’ and ‘Sound of Music’,” said McMurtray. Coming to watch a show as a community member, seeing other community members in the audience, but also seeing them on stage, is special.” Contact the Totem Pole Playhouse, 9555 Golf Course Road, Fayetteville, PA 17222 at https://totempoleplayhouse.org/ or 1-888-805-7056. Featured image caption: Totem Pole Playhouse at Caledonia State Park [Wikimedia Commons]

Adams County Habitat for Humanity: Building Homes with Care

“We don’t have an office,” said Adams County Habitat for Humanity Chapter President, Bill Tyson. “Normally a habitat chapter has an office, a board of directors, and a construction manager, but we don’t have any of that. When we ask for money, we want to be able to say that 98 cents of every dollar goes directly into building houses.” The lack of overhead in the Adams County chapter is a source of pride for the organization, which relies heavily on community volunteers driven by a strong sense of service. “We are a small chapter, so we build about one or two homes per year. Since its creation, the chapter has built around 50 homes. None of this work would be possible without our community volunteers,” said Tyson. “I spent 30 years in the Navy and when I retired, I wanted to continue working for the community. The Navy inculcates a sense of service. I saw an ad in the paper saying Habitat needed volunteers and it was everything I wanted. Twelve years later I am the president, working with people who all understand the mission is getting people in safe homes and giving them a community,” said Tyson. The organization has been part of the county since 1986 when Karl Mattson, former Chaplain and Director of the Center for Public Service at Gettysburg College, founded the Gettysburg chapter. Mattson had visited Nicaragua on a Habitat mission and determined to start a chapter at the college. The college group officially became a Habitat chapter in 1988. The Gettysburg Chapter was expanded to serve all of Adams County in 1989. Habitat for Humanity is an international non-governmental, nonprofit organization founded in 1976. The organization works internationally to build and improve homes for those who need financial help. There are many chapters located in multiple locations across the 50 states. When applying for a home with Habitat for Humanity, applicants first complete a thorough background and financial check, including debt and payment history. Habitat follows the USDA Federal Housing Administration guidelines by zip code when deciding who is eligible for housing. In Adams County, for a family of four, the annual income range allowed is roughly $30,000 – $70,000. “When accepted, you must work 500 hours of sweat equity. In other words, you must contribute to a Habitat project in some way. Sweat equity is important because the homeowners learn valuable lessons about home-owning or finances that will set them up for long term success,” said Tyson. Habitat builds houses all over Adams County. Most recently is the completion of a home on Marie Lane in Biglerville. A “blitz build” project is scheduled in October on Orrtanna Rd. There are many ways to get involved with Habitat for Humanity. Cash donations are always welcome because they help the organization continue to be sustainable. You can volunteer for a build project by contacting the Adams County chapter and visiting the organization’s Facebook page. “Getting involved is not very complicated,” said Tyson, “We advertise our blitz build projects on our Facebook page and then whoever wants to volunteer can just show up with their tools on the indicated dates. We will provide snacks.” Additionally, you can donate materials such as furniture and appliances to Habitat for Humanity ReStores. These stores resale used goods to the public at a fraction of retail price. The nearest Habitat ReStores to Adams County are located at 433 Hahn Rd Westminster, MD 21157 and 1662 Lincoln Way East Chambersburg, PA 17202.

Good Intent Cider opens in Gettysburg

Good Intent Cider, located behind the Ragged Edge Coffee Shop at 110 Chambersburg St. in Gettysburg, opened for business yesterday. The shop, in what was once a garage on W. Zerfing Alley, has a modern, open, and well-lit ambiance, a copper bar, and access to a substantial outdoor seating. Food to accompany the finely-crafted ciders is available from the Ragged Edge. Gettysburg native and owner Adam Redding said the shop was named after the road he grew up on, Good Intent Rd. north of Gettysburg. The cidery is a family operation with Adams’s sister Kimberly and parents Mary and Riley Redding pitching in. Redding has been making cider since 2014 and selling his product at his store in Bellefonte, PA, near State College. “We’ve already won five blue ribbons at the farm show,” he said. Good Intent currently offers 9 varieties of cider, ranging from the semi-sweet Pineapple Hemp made with pineapples and hemp to the tart Wickson, made entirely with heirloom variety Wickson apples. The ciders are for sale in bottles or on tap, and Redding said he expected to start selling the product locally in other bars and shops Good Intent’s cidermaker Matt Simon creates a variety of products varying in sweetness. “Cider shouldn’t be syrupy sweet,” said Redding.  “And it won’t be as cheap as beer, because it is more expensive to make,” he said. Redding said he hadn’t really been expecting to open in Gettysburg until his friend Jake Schindel showed him the shop and he decided to take the plunge. Apples used in the ciders come from Beechwood Orchards and Shannon Farms in Biglerville as well as Kime’s Orchards in Aspers. For now, Good Intent is open on Saturdays from noon to 10:00 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 6:00 p.m.  Featured image: Riley, Kimberly, Mary, and Adam Redding.

Fourcorners Comics and Games in Gettysburg Supports the Community and the Adams County Library System

This post is republished from an original story from Sept. 2020. Fourcorners Comics and Games co-owners Holly Krichten and Arthur Sanchez have been selling comic books, manga, board games, cards, and other entertainment in Gettysburg for the past six years and supporting the Adams County Library System at the same time.  The couple started the shop at 42 Baltimore Street in Kritchen’s hometown in 2015. “We’ve wanted to open a comic shop for a while,” said Sanchez. “The idea of opening a comic book store was always in the back of my mind.” Sanchez researched the area in order to find a proper starting place. “It has been a challenge since day one. You have two people who have a vast knowledge, but it isn’t exactly in shop owning,” said Sanchez. “It was kind of just a dream and we weren’t sure if it was going to work out. Every new thing that we tried was a learning curve,” said Kritchen. Sanchez and Kritchen said they learned to adapt to difficulties and move forward from the very beginning and that customer service is the most important part of any business.  During the pandemic, most of the comic book publishers halted their publications, forcing comic book fans to wait for their stories to continue, and creating difficulties for the shop. “We’ve taken the years of struggle and hard work we’ve always done, and applied it to this particular situation,” said Sanchez. “Here’s the reality with the comic book store: It’s a lot different than other shops because we have periodicals that come out on a weekly basis.”  “We knew that if we just did something every day or tried to keep selling what we had in the store that was still available the business would not have to close,” said Kritchen.  Sanchez said he was thankful tourists were still visiting Gettysburg. “Our community is what helped us make it through the shutdown.” Krichten and Sanchez said they advertise through a newsletter and a live video feed on a weekly basis, and hold numerous giveaways. “There’s a free comic book day, where we give out hundreds and hundreds of comics for free and  raise money for the Adams County Library,” said Sanchez.  During the pandemic they held the free comic book day online over the span of three months and donated any tips they received to the Adams County Library. Looking forward, Sanchez and Kritchen said they do not want to expand — rather, they want to be able to purchase the building they are in and devote as much time to the shop as possible. And they would like to increase their internet presence.  When they think about their business, for which they and a part-time employee devote far beyond normal work hours, there is a huge sense of pride. “We worked and gave up quite a bit of our lives,” said Sanchez. “We have a community that supports us and we’re able to give towards our community.”  

New World War II Museum Opens in Gettysburg on Saturday

people sitting and standing on battle tank

Just a ten-minute drive from Gettysburg’s Lincoln Square lies the brand new World War II American Experience Museum, full of military vehicles, equipment, uniforms, and Gettysburg history. The museum, located on the Mummasburg Rd. at 845 Crooked Creek Rd., offers learning and entertainment for both children and adults. A soft opening this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. will allow visitors to spend time with with local WW ll veterans, and to enjoy music, food trucks, and special exhibits. While Gettysburg is mainly known for its Civil War battle, the new museum asks visitors to reflect on Gettysburg’s involvement in World War II. Gettysburg’s role included a secret map-making center for the Navy, a secret psychological warfare training camp, a local submarine commander, and much more. “We’re not limiting our museum to the story of the soldier,” said the museum’s Director of Outreach Jody Wilson. “It’ll also be about the people back at home and what they did to support the war effort.” “The vehicles are fascinating, they all run, they’re all maintained. But having the stories of the men who depended on those vehicles really adds to the completion of the story of how the war was won,” said Wilson. While the museum is opening with a variety of exhibits, even more are planned for the future. One upcoming initiative is a Victory Garden. Wilson explained the importance of such civilian-run produce gardens during the war, and how they ensured that adequate food was being sent to soldiers.  In addition to the museum itself, learning events are scheduled. Upcoming is a “Tank Talk,” to be held on June 24 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  The museum will be hosting an Artifact Weekend on June 25 at 10:00 a.m. where community members can bring their artifacts to “share, loan, or donate.”  Wilson said the museum focused on how veterans’ experiences impacted the post-war world. “We’re really dedicating a lot of time to veterans, their stories, and their unique experiences,” she said. “The veteran involvement from the community has been amazing.”

Opportunity knocks and healthy smoothies appear in Gettysburg

Have you ever been in Chicago and tried to buy an authentic Philly cheese steak? Or walked around downtown Gettysburg wishing there was a place you could purchase, say, a pair of nice high heels?  You probably know the feeling — neither can be done. Well, that’s exactly the dilemma Phil Letendre, his team members, and their customers found themselves in, leading them to come up with a team-based solution. As the owner of Gettysburg Performance Gym, Letendre values the feedback of his customers.  So when the members of his circle began to cry out for more classes, more space, along with somewhere they could find post-workout drinks and healthy smoothies, he saw an opportunity. The Gettysburg Smoothie Company arrived at 48 York St., just off the square, over the Memorial Day weekend. What was once a former yoga studio is now a quiet reprieve away from the noisy hustle and bustle of town, a shelter out of the blazing heat and sun of the day, and a cozy nook where you can relax as you rehydrate or even make your own ice cream boat. No need to feel guilty in this smoothie company though. With drinks like “Stars and Stripes, Revive” and “Super G,” the offerings are geared towards those looking to be health conscious and wanting only the best ingredients to refuel and recharge their bodies.  If you’re thinking a “healthy smoothie” couldn’t possibly be good, you’d be wrong; they are even better than they sound. That’s in part because the recipes come from the feedback the shop gets from the suggestions their customers give them (and because they are really good at what they do).  I tried a Blueberry Lagoon and was pleasantly pleased with every aspect of my smoothie – from its creamy texture, fresh fruit bites, ever so slight but somehow “just right” sweetness, to the feeling of actually being re-hydrated and refreshed during the hot day.  I can promise I will definitely be going back. The Gettysburg Smoothie Company wants its customers to feel as good about themselves. You can not only feel good in the knowledge that you’re helping support local businesses within your community, but also find comfort in the certainty that you are making healthy choices for yourself.  No ice is ever used and everything is made from a fruit base that is frozen on site and based on the concepts of hydration, amino acids, and electrolytes. Letendre said he is planning to bring more of the classes that are offered at his gym to the new site, as well as future yoga classes, and said he had many other ideas for partnering with other local businesses to “bring more, much more; complete with all the treats and offerings,” to the community.  But he wasn’t willing to spoil the surprise.  As a physical trainer and business owner, Letendre knows the value of hard work, sees the significance of teamwork, and recognizes that it takes the dedication of everyone to be successful in achieving one’s dreams. “Without my team none of this would have been possible,” he said. “It’s all about them; they are the reasons Gettysburg Smoothie Company is what it is today.”

Reid’s Orchard and Winery: Cider, Wine, Food, and More!

Reid’s Orchard and Winery is a family-owned and operated business that includes a  fruit farm located at 2135 Buchanan Valley Road in Orrtanna, as well as Reid’s Winery Tasting Room and Cider House located at 400 Baltimore St in downtown Gettysburg. “We are farmers first. The most important part of our business is growing high quality food. We run farmers’ markets located in Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Virginia,” said Philip Keating, a cider maker and operations manager at Reid’s. “Most of the fruit usually goes down to these markets, but the rest we bring back home and make cider and wine out of it.” Owner and proprietor Dave Reid purchased the Buchanan Valley land in 1976. Since then, he has been farming, expanding, and improving the land by planting a multitude of fruits, including apples, peaches, and multiple species of berries and grapes. All these fruits are well acclimated to the humid hills of Pennsylvania. The farm is now managed by Dave Reid, his nephew Mark, Keating, and a family of eight from Mexico, who come to Adams County to work the farm. While Reid’s may be known for wine and cider, it is fueled by a strong farming tradition. “We do a lot of small batches. We don’t mass produce anything,” said Keating. For instance, if one year strawberries do not sell as well as they did before, then we have a lot of left-over strawberries and we will make a wine or cider out of them. The farm supports the winery, but since 2014, the winery has really started to hold its own legs out.” Keating said about 22 acres of the farm are dedicated to wine grapes (mostly French and Italian varietals). This area of the farm is in a unique location at the tail end of the Appalachian mountains, and on an incline, creating different microclimates all along the hill. These conditions allow growing fruits that normally can’t survive in the area. For example, Reid’s can farm Malbec, a red wine grape that is usually only prominent in South America, France, and some areas of California. The Gettysburg winery offers a variety of wines. On the “dry and heavy” side, is “Reid’s Red,” a blend of Cab Franc and Syrah. “Jennie’s House White” and “Front Porch” are examples of sweeter wines, and there is also a selection of fruit wines and sweet blends. In addition to wine, Reid makes many ciders. In a limited release, the “Apple Crisp,” a sweet cider made with honey crisp apples, makes an appearance on the shelves this year for the first time in several years. “We make anything from your bone-dry European style, pure apple, and nothing else ciders to your Americanized very sweet ciders, and everything in between,” said Keating. “The importance of having a local farm is that our customers can know where these products are coming from.” Reid’s Orchard and Winery has recently added a new partner, Clawson’s at the Cider House. With this addition, Reid’s adds food to its list of products, while staying true to their farming tradition. Clawson’s provides “farm to fork” plates. The Clawsons owned two successful restaurants in Nashville, Tennessee. Unfortunately, they were negatively impacted by Covid, prompting them to shut down and seek “a fresh start” in Pennsylvania. Renting a small kitchen from Reid’s, “They are producing some of the most incredible food I have ever had, and they make it look effortless,” said Keating. While financial fluidity is important to a business’s success, Keating suggests that the community engagement is the most rewarding part of working at Reid’s. “It’s about sitting back, in the garden, when I’m off shift, and hearing people speaking about the cider. It’s always good to make a quality product, but it’s even better to hear people speak candidly about how good the cider is,” said Keating. Reid’s Orchard and Winery is open Monday through Thursday from 12:00 p.m. -6:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 12:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m., and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m.. Clawson’s at the Cider house is open from 12:00 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Gettysburg Cottage Crêperie: Sweet and savory crêpes, smoothies, and shakes; Oh my!

Have you ever gone into a place and instantly felt like a kid in a candy shop; so excited you could hardly decide where to start? Walking into Gettysburg’s new Cottage Crêperie felt like winning the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. “Now this is a story I can really sink my teeth into,” I thought.  From the aromas of freshly brewed coffees, warm spiced apples, ice creams, cinnamon, chocolate, chicken, and savory herbs, to the safe and relaxing environment reminiscent of “Mother’s” cottage kitchen, one could not help but leave all worry and cares at the door. With savory crêpe choices including “Creamy Chicken Pesto” and “This Little Piggy,” along with the sweet “French Toast and Banana,” “Blueberry Delight,” and “Blueberry Lemon Delight” (to name a few), I could hardly decide which one I wanted to try.  Finally settling on the “French Toast and Banana,” I was not disappointed, to say the least.  As soon as the crêpe hit my mouth, it was a warm delicious explosion of flavors that instantly rolled my eyes to the back of my head.  At that moment, I could not have been happier.  One thing I know for sure, French toast will never be the same to me again. While the store, which opened earlier this month, may be new to Gettysburg, the cottage-style house, located at 33 Steinwehr Ave., has a long history dating back to 1891.  Its proud new owner, Lori Mitchell, felt it was important to keep much of its original feel and honor its more recent tradition of serving ice cream, while adding a piece of her own heart. “From the beginning of my concept, I’ve had family and my closest friends as a part of my vision,” she said.  “Together, everyone contributed to making my dream come alive.  From the paintings, decor and graphics, to the menu tweaking, I have felt the support of my closest circle in bringing my dream to life.” Lori’s love of crêpes was born about thirty years ago at a crêpe cart on the streets of San Francisco.  From the first time she sank her teeth into a strawberry, cream and Nutella crêpe, she knew she wanted to share her experience with the world. Lori expressed her gratitude to her daughter, Erin Ernst, for encouraging her love of crêpes and designing her logo, her friend Fabio Carella for his help refining the menu and perfecting the recipes, her creative and supportive staff who help with all her ideas, and each of her vendors who help and contribute to everything that goes into the crêperie. Lori says she is “honored to be a part of the restaurant community,” and gives back by using only local vendors.  Everything she buys, including all of the artwork displayed in the crêperie, comes from Rebel Ridge Farms ( who supplies her honey, eggs and chicken), Farmstead Butcher (who supplies all her protein needs), as well as Twin Springs Farm, Molly Rock Farm, and Liberty View Creamery. Find Gettysburg Cottage Crêperie on Facebook.

New industrial development moves forward in Oxford Township

The 92-acre vacant lot located at 299 Brickyard Road in New Oxford will be redeveloped into new industrial parcels in a deal brokered by the Adams Economic Alliance (EAE). The deal will include a ten-year decreasing tax abatement for the developer. The property, currently designated as “blighted,” has been purchased by ERY Properties LLC and will house a wood pallet manufacturing business and a wood wall panel manufacturing business. One or two other parcels may be sold or leased in the future. “The county and the EAE have the philosophy that we would rather develop areas that are brown fields or vacant rather than developing on agricultural land. This is perfect. It was an industrial use for so many years. We were able to clean it up and fix it up and put it back into industrial use,” said EAE President Robin Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick said the property was unique in that it had two rail lines and that the new businesses would provide living wage jobs. The site, formerly home to a concrete brick and block manufacturer, is requiring substantial redevelopment. “A lot of mining had been done,” said Fitzpatrick. Those mines have to be identified and filled in for safety.” The project also requires wetland reclamation. ERY will make road improvements and construct a new municipal road, but has asked for tax abatements to help cover the development costs. Both Oxford Township and Conewago Valley School District have approved a plan to provide a ten-year decreasing abatement of taxes on the new businesses using the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) Act.  Adams County is expected to approve the plan at its meeting on May 4. According to the agreement the taxing agencies will continue to receive the same tax that is currently being generated on the vacant lot. Once the buildings are complete the county will reassess the value of the property. EYR’s taxes will increase steadily for ten years until they are paying the full amount. “This is an extremely beneficial project for Adams County,” said County Commissioner Jim Martin. “It’s one of the bigger economic activities that we have in the county at the moment.” Martin congratulated the team for putting it together “There’s a lot of moving parts,” he said. Featured image notes: Pictures A and B: man-made mining trenches filled with water. Pictures C and D: remaining debris from former brickyard buildings and operations.

African American siblings rejuvenate Gettysburg’s Keystone Inn Bed and Breakfast

African American siblings rejuvenate Gettysburg’s Keystone Inn Bed and Breakfast The Keystone Inn, located at 231 Hanover St. in Gettysburg, has been purchased and renovated by siblings Patrick, Christine, and Stephen Campbell. The new owners, perhaps the first African Americans to own a bed & breakfast in Gettysburg, have created a space where people can retreat with friends, family, and colleagues. After an extensive search for a bed and breakfast, the Campbells purchased the Keystone in August 2020. When choosing the Keystone, the siblings looked for a place with character, a location big enough to host family gatherings, and near stops on the Underground Railroad. The team made substantial rehabilitation of the property before opening for three months around Remembrance Day 2020, closing for further renovations, and then reopening in April, 2021. Working in the midst of the pandemic, the siblings too extra care that people could visit the inn in the safest possible manner. “Changing the world from the dining room table” is the phrase Christine Campbell frequently uses to convey one of their many roles as innkeepers. Their priority is to create unique guest experiences that allow friends, family, and coworkers to connect and engage in a relaxing, peaceful setting. The garage has been transformed into the “Carriage House,” a welcoming space for small meetings and friendly gatherings equipped with state-of-the-art technology and wired for sound and video conferencing, creating the perfect place to “work from home at the Inn.” The inn also includes a well- appointed kitchen, perfect for preparing hearty, delicious breakfasts for guests as well as hosting large family holiday dinners. The Campbell team has included the Keystone’s historical heritage in their design by incorporating Civil War stories themes. Each room is named for a historical character, including Basil Biggs, an African American farmer and veterinarian from Gettysburg. One of the rooms honors the Reasor Family, the original owners of the house. The Reasors were local furniture makers, and the room features pieces of their work. Christine Campbell has spent most of her professional life in the nonprofit sector, managing, administering, and developing housing and services for individuals with disabilities. She has been a vocal advocate for social justice. In her spare time, she sings with her local church choir and enjoys entertaining guests with excellent food, fun, and companionship. Patrick Campbell has worked in technology project management for the bulk of his career and has a strong business sense. He is an outstanding pianist in his own time and enjoys sports, particularly basketball and football. An architect by training, Stephen Campbell has worked in Public Services in New York City, Washington, DC, and currently Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His work is centered on long-term community development, and he brings his principles to it. He is an organic gardener and a Sondheim fan in his leisure time. For more information, please visit The Keystone Inn’s website.

Business Profile: Unique hand-crafted items from the Gettysburg Polish Pottery Store

In 2014, Rebecca Woodward and her husband Tim were presented with the opportunity to become a distributor of a line of Polish pottery. The two decided to take what they called “a little leap of faith.” The outcome is the Gettysburg Polish Pottery store, located at 102 Baltimore St., just a block off Lincoln Square, which since 2014 has become a popular tourist attraction for people from across America and the world. Rebecca said she was familiar with polish pottery long before she had ever considered opening a store and wanted to share her experience with others. “I felt passionate about the product, as baking and cooking in polish pottery is an absolute joy,” she said. Rebecca said it is common for distributors of Polish pottery to sell to small brick and mortar shops or online. But the Gettysburg Polish Pottery store is “unique in that the only thing we sell is Polish pottery.” The shop stocks over 3,500 shapes of pottery, all imported from the Ceramica Artystyczna factory in Bolesławiec, Poland. Polish pottery is lead and cadmium-free, safe for use in the oven, microwave, and dishwasher, and extremely resistant to chips and cracks. It maintains its temperature once removed from the oven, keeping food warm for serving, and cleans up easily. Each piece is individually hand crafted and hand painted as an individual work of art; no two pieces are ever exactly alike. “Our goal is customer satisfaction. We work very hard to assist our customers in finding the exact piece of pottery to add to their current stoneware or to help them get started in their collection of pottery for everyday use or for the Polish pottery collector,” said Rebecca and Tim on the store’s website. Rebecca said the shop had closed during the pandemic, but was able to set up an online store to continue selling the collection. “During the pandemic, I was continuously putting up pictures of the unique patterns and pieces on Facebook,” said Rebecca. “We were in the shop every day while we were closed because we were filling online orders.” The Woodwards also continued selling locally during the pandemic through curbside pickup. The Gettysburg Polish Pottery store is now an accepted and integrated part of the diverse make-up of small businesses in Gettysburg. “This experience has been incredibly rewarding,” she said.   “It’s nice when everyone is supportive of everybody else’s business. There’s a big asset to being in a small town population-wise, but a big town in the grand scheme of owning a business in a tourist town,” she said.

Business Profile: Lincoln Into Art brings the 16th president to life

In 2010, artist Wendy Allen came to Gettysburg and opened, with her partner Elaine Henderson as gallery director, Lincoln Into Art, a contemporary art gallery and gift shop, featuring her distinctive Lincoln portraits. Since then, her work has continued to home in on one subject and one subject only. Working full time, Allen has painted hundreds of portraits of the 16th president and become world-famous for her work. “I fell in love with painting Lincoln 40 years ago and haven’t stopped painting him ever since,” said Allen. Typically, artists stick to one style or technique and paint an array of subjects in that style. But I have dedicated all my art on a single subject; I have painted Lincoln in many different techniques and styles. The gallery, located at 329 Baltimore St. in the heart of Gettysburg’s historic district, occupies the ground floor of a beautifully restored Civil War-era home that dates from 1850, and is visited year-round by people looking for Allen’s work. In addition to original portraits, images of Lincoln are available on post cards, prints, and in many other formats. Allen said she has had the pleasure of selling art to tourists from all around the world. “I have even mailed art to Europe. It seems like everyone around the world loves Lincoln.” Allen shows her art in local schools as well as in galleries in Washington D.C. and Pensacola, Florida.  She also offers commissioned pieces by request. In addition to the paintings, the shop also offers signature Baltimore Street Soap hand-crafted by Allen and her sister Amy Woodis. When asked what advice she would give a prospective artist Allen said “If you are interested in art, I would suggest you try out several different styles. With new technology there are even more different types of digital art forms that could be interesting. I also suggest you go to museums and admire other artwork and artists to help give you inspiration for your artwork.” Allen warned future artists that the time commitment could sometimes be substantial:  “Some paintings can take hours while others take years. It just depends on when I feel that it is done,” she said. Current hours of operation at the gallery are 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. on weekends and by appointment during the week. Store merchandise is also available online. Featured photo by Jasmin Herrera.

Organization Profile: Ploughman Cider

Editor’s note: We’re pleased to republish this story, originally shared in Feb. 2020. Two years later, Ploughman Cider is doing better than ever, continuing to create new styles, increase distribution, and win awards. The United States is the only country where you need to call cider “hard,” said Ben Wenk, owner of Ploughman Cider, located at 1606 Bendersville-Wenksville Road in Aspers, and the Ploughman Cider Taproom on the Gettysburg Square. Wenk said the difference was simple: “Cider has alcohol; apple juice doesn’t.” Wenk is a seventh generation farmer at Three Springs Fruit Farm in Aspers, who took up cidermaking and founded Ploughman in 2016. Ploughman cider is made primarily from apples grown on the 400-acre farm. I came back from college and “didn’t really know what I wanted to do. But I wanted to start something new,” said Wenk. Wenk said he tried various ciders from different makers and decided to give cider-making a go. “I started by hosting cider parties with my friends. Then I became obsessed,” said Wenk. Ploughman cidermaker Hans Winzeler said the company was “doubling production” to fulfill the demand for cider. “People are used to sweet ciders that appeal to the mass palette,” said Ploughman cidermaker Hugh Lewis. But the fermentation process leaves a product that is no longer sweet. “The fermentation is complete. All the sugars are gone,” said Winzeler. Wenk said the success of Three Springs in selling fruit at farm markets in Philadelphia “gave me the confidence to start the cider operation.” I really understood what it meant to make cider, said Wenk, when I learned that “cider is not a value-added product.” Wenk said cidermakers do not use discards from the apple crop to make their product, but “grow the best cider apples possible.” “I got excited about growing fruit for cider,” said Wenk. The appearance of the fruit doesn’t matter. It’s all about the sugar, the finish, and the aroma.” “The apples you start with are super important,” said Lewis, noting the cider apples used in the Ploughman ciders include Dabinett, Frequin rouge, Rome, JonaGold , Goldrush, and Stayman Winesap. The cider business is “a competitive and crowded marketplace,” said Wenk. “It’s made like wine and sold like beer.” “We’re trying to figure out our place. The educational curve is steep,” said Wenk. The cidermakers add yeasts when necessary and may use sulfites to protect the cider against oxidation. But “our best products are from natural fermentation,” said Winzeler. Winzeler said the manufacturing process also includes the addition of carbon dioxide to give the product “bubble and fizz.” Ploughman ciders are aged from 8 to 12 months in the bottles before being distributed, said Winzeler. “The cider is unpasteurized,” said Wenk. WInzeler said he learned a lot about making cider during a visit to Herfordshire, England, an area where many ciders are made. “Cider pairs with almost any food,” said Winzeler. “Every year our cider is better.” “Cidermakers are always trying new things. We dabble and find out what works,” said Lewis. In addition to the taproom, Ploughman’s cider is sold in bars, retail outlets, and farmers markets around the state. The taproom is known not only for its wide variety of ciders, but also for the quality of the musicians who play there on Friday and Saturday nights and on Sunday afternoons. Wenk said the taproom would begin hosting open mic nights on Thursdays, starting February 6 and that a “Cider School,” in which visitors can engage in an informal “sensory analysis” of various ciders would begin on Monday nights, starting February 10. Wenk, who is also a well-recognized local musician, said a fundamental strategy for the taproom was to “hire the best musicians you can.” Featured image caption:  Cidermakers Winzeler and Lewis

Gateau Monique Bakery Becomes Littlestown Tradition

We originally published this post in 2019 BC (Before Covid). The bakery has expanded since then and continues to serve the Littlestown area and surroundings. It was five years ago that Littlestown resident Monique Washirapunya opened her boutique bakery, Gateau Monique, in downtown Littlestown. Since then hundreds of people have enjoyed Washirapunya’s creative desserts, and the bakery has become a fixture in Adams County and the Littlestown community. Washirapunya said her bakery is a small-town business and “a personal thing. I can’t go anyplace without hearing ‘Oh, you’re the bakery lady!’” “I’ve grown to love Littlestown. It’s become my home,” said Washirapunya. The bakery supports community organizations, and partners with local small businesses. Washirapunya said the bakery specializes in retail and wholesale sales and supplying desserts to weddings and events. Gateau Monique is “not super-traditional French, but offers a European style which uses less sugar, but more dark chocolate and butter,” she said. “Some customers were skeptical at first – they wanted to know where the donuts were. But now a lot of families are interested. They trust what we do,” said Washirapunya. Washirapunya’s assistant, Mike Warner, said the bakery’s savory offerings, including the onion and shallot pop tarts, were popular on Saturday mornings. “We have a line out on the street waiting for the open sign to flip at 8 a.m.” Warner, who lives down the street from the bakery in Littlestown said he started at the bakery by helping Washirapunya move a refrigerator, and ended up as a baker. Before opening Gateau Monique, Washirapunya attended culinary school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, worked at Antrim 1884 in Taneytown, and earned a business degree from McDaniel college. “The business education has helped me tremendously,” said Washirapunya. “Every year 100-130 Kindergarten children from Alloway Creek Elementary come through on a field trip. They learn about the baking machines and they bake cookies,” said Washirapunya. Washirapunya said the bakery also has close relationships with the Littlestown Little League and girls’ soccer. “We really try to support the Littlestown community.” Washirapunya said she had initially expected to be only a wholesale operation, but when she took a look at the old barbershop building that became the bakery, she decided otherwise. “The windows were so nice I opened for retail,” she said. Washirapunya said she hopes to expand in Littlestown by opening a market selling local produce along with the bakery. Gateau Monique is offering gift boxes with bakery aprons and samples from local businesses for the holidays. “It’s something unique at Christmas,” said Washirapunya. For more information, please visit Gateau Monique’s business listing.

Sacred Willow Metaphysical Center encourages healing through a journey inward

Littlestown has a growing community of unique women-owned businesses. Sacred Willow Metaphysical Center, located at 18 South Queen Street, is a recent addition. Owner Dee Antoinette provides a wide range of workshops and tools to aid her clients on their spiritual journey. Dee is hosting an open house Sunday, December 19, from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The public can enjoy refreshments and learn more about the center’s wide range of classes, workshops, and other tools that enhance growth.  “I opened the center to create a space where people can teach, learn, and grow. Our practitioners encourage healing and recognize blockages that get in the way. Whether work demands, health and relationship issues or other blockages, our practitioners motivate participants to break up energy blockages so their bodies can experience natural healing,” said Antoinette. Scared Willow also supports local artisans who showcase and sell their works at the center. Art, crafts, and healing items can be viewed or purchased during the open house. To register for a class or learn more about the center, visit http://www.sacredwillowmc.com or call (717) 345-5287.

Ernie’s Texas Lunch celebrates 100 years in Gettysburg

The employees at Ernie’s Texas Lunch are celebrating 100 years of being part of the Gettysburg community by doing what they always do – providing quality breakfasts and lunches at their counter and tables in their shop on Chambersburg Street. The store, known originally as Texas Hot Weenies, was opened in in 1921 by Anastasos (Ernest) Kranias soon after he emigrated from Greece. He and another boy lied about their age and crossed the Atlantic just months after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Ernest traveled in the states until he came to Gettysburg which he decided would be the perfect place to settle. The shop is now in the able hands of Ernest’s grandson, Ernie Kranias, who says little has changed since then. In fact, he credits the lack of change as a reason for continued success. When you sit down and order something on their menu you are ordering food that someone would have eaten a century ago. After returning to his birth country for a visit, Ernest sponsored a relative and another Gettysburg icon, Tommy Kranias 14 years later, helping him make a place for himself in Gettysburg by opening the iconic Tommy’s Pizza Shop. “Ernest and Tommy bonded and Tommy became like a second son to him,” said Krinias. “Tommy once asked me which one do you think is better, ‘Tommy’s Pizza or T & K Pizza Stop?’, and I said ‘T & K Pizza Stop’”, said Kranias. “Obviously, I chose wrong, but I was flattered that he asked what I thought.” Kranias says he often considers the courage of the boys taking their trip across the Atlantic knowing the fate of the people on the Titanic. “But then I thought maybe they didn’t even know about it,” he said. Kranias said Gettysburg turned out to be a good choice for both businesses, in part because there were many other Greek emigrants starting up at the same time. “The neighbors are competitive, but ultimately helpful and friendly,” he said. Kranias said the shop’s customers have remained supportive over the years. “People may change the way they look or talk,” he said, but “so many people have gone out of their way to show support to their business over time and especially during the pandemic.” Kranias said many customers ordered takeout while indoor dining was forbidden, which helped keep things going. “The same supportive customers were always there from the very start of our opening. Though the regulars change over time, their eagerness to help has not changed at all,” he said. Kranias said a customer donated $400 to support the shop. He distributed the gift among his employees. Kranias credited his wife Linda, who died of cancer in 2014, as his “pillar and rock. I never realized just how important this family business was until she came along and showed me,” he said. Linda Kranias was a kind and caring person who helped with local fundraisers. Kranias continued her legacy, helping raise almost $128,000 for cancer research since 2014. “Linda had a shining personality and brought fun to the business. She touched the hearts of everyone,” he said. Kranias spends his free time researching his grandfather to learn more about his life and how exactly the family business came to be. He does not have any children to pass down his family’s legacy, but hopes to convince a distant cousin or one of his nephews to take over the business. Ernie’s serves traditional breakfast items including eggs, omelets, and pancakes, as well as hot dogs, fries, burgers, and chili. The unique menu offerings, including the Texas Weiner, Cheese Dog, Dummy Ho Hot Dog, and the Taco Dog, are all homemade and follow recipes that have done well for 100 years. And they still serve beer for their adult customers. To see a video about Ernie’s and to place an online order, please visit them here.

Rice Fruit Company’s Apples are “Sweet Natured”

Only a dozen or so miles north of Gettysburg, on Route 34 north of Aspers, sits the site of a long-standing county fixture — The Rice Fruit Company. The busy apple processing plant is located amid a rural landscape surrounded by apple orchards. The Rice family first started packing fruit in 1913. “We can trace back eight generations that have been growing apples in Adams County,” said recently-retired Vice President John Rice. For the past decades the company has focused exclusively on processing apples for the fresh fruit market, and is now managed by the company’s 4th-generation: Ben Rice, Emily Rice-Townsend and Leighton Rice. The flat warehouse-like buildings spread out across the property and one could only guess what’s inside by observing the tractor-trailer loads of apple bins that appear with regularity during the mid-October fruit harvest. As each truck from a neighboring orchard pulls into the driveway its many fruit bins are scanned by an iPad, giving the buyers a general idea of what’s in each one. A few sample fruits are taken into the plant where they are pressure-tested to gauge the quality and ripeness of the crop. One by one the bins are moved Inside the first building, where each, containing about 20 bushels of fruit and weighing up to 1,000 pounds, is lowered into a pool of water. The apples float to the surface and their processing voyage through the plant begins. Water works magic for apple processing because apples transported via water are less likely to be bruised. The floating apples are pushed into a series of sluices where hi-tech machines do the work, processing up to 1,000 bushels per hour. Machines size the apples and inspect them for color and shape. Those too small or too damaged are sent away to become juice or sauce. Only the very best will be packed as fresh fruit. In the next building the interiors of the applies are inspected with infrared scanners and each is given a light coating of wax. Organic apples don’t get this treatment, but they don’t look as shiny to the customer and they dehydrate faster. Finally the small oval labels, each with a bar code, are pasted on the individual fruit. In the next stage the sorted, cleaned, and inspected fruit is packed into boxes which quick-operating robots stack onto pallets, laying each one into perfect Lego stacks, never missing a beat. The robotic stackers are manufactured in Spain. “They are pretty new for us, but it’s very hard to find people to stack boxes. It’s hard on their bodies,” said Rice. Rice said eight people who had originally stacked the boxes had transitioned into new jobs. “It took a long learning curve,” he said. Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brenda Briggs said the company had good retention of its 100 or so workers, but that other challenges from the pandemic had cropped up. “It’s hard to find the parts you might need,” she said. On the other side of the room, dozens of workers put the apples into clear plastic bags for sale in the produce section of stores. The bags are destined for Walmart, Whole Foods, and other retailers. The process ends when the pallets of crated apples are piled high into one of the 41 controlled storage rooms in other buildings. Here the apples are quickly cooled to 31 degrees Fahrenheit and sprayed with methylcyclopropene to aid in refrigeration. The doors to the rooms are sealed, and the oxygen is removed, leaving only nitrogen. Here the apples can stay in storage for up to a year, until the next crop is picked. “Refrigeration puts the apples to sleep but controlled storage puts them in a coma,” said fruit quality manager Leighton Rice. Coordination along the processing line among the 100 or so employees, mechanics, and supervisors is highly coordinated – an art form of sorts. “It takes everyone moving in the same direction. There’s a lot that can go wrong,” said Biggs. Rice Fruit packs about 7 million bushels of apples from over 40 local growers each year, as well as those from their own farms, which make up about 20 percent of the total. Each farmer’s apples are tracked individually through the processing stages and the farmers are paid by the quality of the product that is packed. Payments to the farmers directly track the price the company is able to charge the buyers. “The grower gets the net after we deduct our processing fees,” said Rice. Rice said more and more growers were producing apples to sell as fresh fruit which bring the highest prices. Rice said the popular Honeycrisp apples fetch the highest prices but are also the most difficult to grow. The company brands its apples as “Sweet Natured Fruit,” and many hands work hard to make them so.

Small restaurant Tacos Monarca brings big flavors to Gettysburg

On the corner of West Railroad and Carlisle Streets in Gettysburg, where Subway once operated, there is now a small Mexican restaurant. The restaurant is named Tacos Monarcas after the monarch butterflies that migrate from Canada to the Oyamel forests in Michoacan, Mexico. Michoacan is the home state of owners Jimena and Louis Gonzalez. From food to atmosphere, Tacos Monarca is deeply influenced by Mexico. “Our goal is to bring the same flavors from Mexico to here,” said Jimena, and that is why their restaurant is detailed with everything Mexico. The restaurant’s decor is based on tastes and designs commonly found within the owners’ hometown. Gonzalez has commissioned a personal painting by her cousins on one of the restaurant’s walls. The painting depicts a man holding a mask of an old person’s face while carrying a basket of avocados. Gonzalez explained how this piece is actually about a traditional dance. “Traditionally the dancers would wear masks that look like old men and women while wearing wooden shoes that would create lots of noise when stepping,” she said. The dance is called “danza de los viejitos” (the dance of old men). It is a traditional folk dance found exclusively in Michoacan. Their recipes are authentic Mexican food you can easily find all around Mexico. It is common in many Mexican restaurants in the U.S. to change traditional recipes to cater to the people who live here. In the process, the original recipe turns into an entirely different dish. So when people order something like a taco, they don’t get an authentic one. Jimena and Louis take pride in their food and culture. They enjoy the idea of sharing their love for their culture and food with others. Their love for their traditional food pushes them to only serve authentic dishes that are not altered from their original recipes. Their home-made sauces make the recipes uniquely theirs, but they keep the recipes as close to the original as possible. Jimena said she was worried about opening a restaurant during the pandemic, a time when many restaurants were closing. But Tacos Monarca has only seen consistent sales since opening. Jimena attributes her success to her customers’ dedication. While there are regulars from town who often either dine in or order take-out, some customers travel far lengths in order to eat their dishes. Jimena said they often have customers who travel from up to two hours away just to get a bite of their delicious authentic food. The Gonzalez are long-time residents of Gettysburg, and have always had a deep desire to open a business here. “It was a surprise,” said Jimena. “We were thinking about it, but not really looking for a place to buy or rent yet. Then somebody told us about this place. I talked with the owner and they said yes, because I used to work here at Subway like eight years ago.” The coincidence almost seemed like fate to the couple. They decided that instead of waiting any longer they would take the chance. “I told my husband I want to be in business, not only with a restaurant,” said Jimena. She is interested in expanding their business, not only to different cities, but to open other stores here in Gettysburg as well. The Gonzalez have big aspirations, but for now they are focused on cementing their restaurant here in Gettysburg. Jimena’s sister, Edith Garcia, clearly believes in her sister’s dream and dedication, as she took a gap year off of school in order to help Tacos Monarca get started. Garcia is currently a college student, attending a school in Mexico. Though she does not go to a culinary arts school, it has always been an aspiration of hers to be part of a professional kitchen. She will most likely return to school soon, but Jimena said there will always be a spot waiting at Tacos Monarca if she chooses to return. Tacos Monarca also offers pizzas and sandwiches. Eat-in, pick up, or get delivery. You can find Tacos Monarca at 11 W. Railroad St. in Gettysburg.

Local high school student creates award-winning business

If there is a single local model for business success, it might be 17 year-old Bermudian Springs High School senior Chloe Plesic, who, with her parents, Rebecca and Chris, have taken one pet rabbit they bought 5 years ago and turned it into a rabbitry empire that is funding her planned nursing degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Chloe, a cheerleader, and honors student, has taken her love of rabbits and turned it not just into a business that sells rabbits, for show, for pets, and for meat, but also created a model of social service and community engagement. Chloe said she raises three breeds of rabbits that are sold for different reasons. “Mini Lops are primarily purchased as pets,” she said. “They live around 6-8 years and have a good and calm temperament.” New Zealand and Californian rabbits, on the other hand, have a different destination. “We sell these live rabbits to those who wish to have rabbit meat; it’s the only meat your body can fully digest,” she said. Chloe also breeds rabbits for show, and they have won numerous awards. “In sports you watch a kid excel and they go up and win. Chloe does this with rabbits,” said Chris. Chloe and her family have participated in competitions in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Tennessee. “I only show the rabbits I breed, and which can show the full pedigree of each rabbit that competes,” said Chloe. Chris said Chloe has been the National Grand Champion 2 years in a row with her “meat pens,” meaning she has bred and raised the best of show when it comes to rabbits sold for meat consumption. She also placed first in 2020 for the top Mini Lot youth. She has been to three nationals and won the best display of the overall Mini Lot herd, which means all her rabbits placed in the top 5 of their classes. Despite her work with the business and in competitions, Chloe says these successes do not compare with the importance of the social work and community outreach she does. What provides her the most joy, she said, is working with the community, such as in special needs clubs and nursing homes, where she brings her rabbits as therapy. Through her work with others in rabbitry, Chloe has inspired many others to take up the competition and fostered a sense of strength for other girls who want to see themselves succeed. Beyond her work ethic, time management and public speaking skills, and her competitive spirit, Chloe said her abilities in “building bonds and creating friendship” are most important because they inspire others to do their best and pursue their success in the realm of rabbit competition. Seeing someone she had mentored beating her in a competition “means more than any one of those ribbons” she has won.

As traffic increases after the pandemic local stores face supply chain issues and encourage customers to shop early

I took a quick walk around the Gettysburg Square this morning and talked to some shop owners. The responses were similar across the board: The pandemic was tough, but things are getting better. The fly in the ointment right now is keeping the stores stocked. “It was tough for a couple of months, but it’s picking up; people are more comfortable getting out,” said True Friends Boutique owner Deb Bair.  “October is usually a good month.” At the Redbud House, owner John Lansing said “it’s a little better than I would have expected,” but expressed concern about keeping products on his shelves “Every company I order from has different issues. I’m casting a wide net,” he said. Lansing said people in Gettysburg were out looking for things to do but that this shopping season would be different than those in the past. “If you’re Christmas shopping, shop early. If you’re patient, everything will be fine,” he said. At Fourcorners Comics and Games, owner Holly Kritchten was optimistic but also realistic. “We’re doing pretty well now, but it wasn’t easy during the pandemic,” she said. “We delivered; we did live sales.” Kritchten also expressed concerns about stocking her store, particularly for popular items such as the Pokemon brand. “There are lots of products we can’t get in,” she said. Kritchten said a paper shortage was creating delays in the availability of comic books. “I don’t know what’s going to happen; there are storage containers just piling up,” she said. Mark Fox, owner at Sweeet!! THE Candy Store was also concerned, although he said his business had done alright during the pandemic. “I was pivoting from day one, but once people realized they couldn’t go anywhere else, they started coming here,” he said. Fox said his store had tried to sell its products online but that it hadn’t really worked out. “People like to get out; they like the tactile experience; they like to experience the happiness.” Saying the problem was particularly acute on the east coast, Fox called the supply chain problem “a logistical nightmare.”  “I’ve been buying for Christmas since June from anyone who will ship,” he said.

Downtown Gettysburg’s Ragged Edge provides coffee, pastries, smoothies, and more

Positioned just one block from the Gettysburg Square, the Ragged Edge Coffee House is an ideal location to enjoy a steamy cup of coffee or a delectable bite to eat after exploring the historic battlefields.  The Ragged Edge is Gettysburg’s only coffee house, eatery and juice bar and serves a full menu of breakfast, lunch, espresso, lattes, smoothies, and home-made baked pastries. Like the captivating history of the Gettysburg battlefields, owner (and former Gettysburg Borough Council President) Jacob Schindel’s shop has an awe-inspiring story. The Ragged Edge Coffee House first opened in April, 2001. Only three years later the original shop burnt down on Jan. 31, 2004. Schindel rebuilt and re-opened nine months later. And the shop survived still another fire in 2006. The challenges have continued in the COVID-19 era, but the Ragged Edge has remained open, taking many safety protocols to make sure both tourists and locals can continue to enjoy the aroma of a coffee house despite the circumstances. Safety is made easier because the shop has an outdoor garden and three indoor dining rooms. Saying his favorite part about being a business owner is to be able to “execute your own vision,” Schindel said ”I want the shop to feel like a small community inside a bigger one.” The shop also serves as an art gallery and poetry venue, with art openings and poetry readings on First Fridays. Some of The Ragged Edge Coffee House’s most popular menu items are The Jasper Bacon Egg & Cheese and the Ragged Edge Club. You can enjoy them alongside a perfectly brewed coffee underneath a wooden canopy in the back courtyard.  Whether you are longing for a cup of warm coffee or a tasty sandwich on a cool fall day, The Ragged Edge Coffee House has it all! It is the ideal spot to enjoy after spending a long day exploring historic Gettysburg. Find the Ragged Edge at 110 Chambersburg St.

Destination Weddings Abound in Adams

Adams County is a popular destination for wedding ceremonies, largely due to its widespread appeal for many different audiences. View our complete list of Destination Wedding Venues A wedding at Hauser Hill Event Center [Lindsey Ford] “Adams County is built for tourism, so we are fully equipped for people to come from all over the place to explore the battlefields, the history of the town, and our robust agribusiness,” said Round Barn Events LLC Manager Jessica Knouse. “We not only have venues on the more traditional spectrum, but we also have unpretentious, newer, outdoor options. There’s something for everyone.” For couples seeking to host their wedding at an upscale, indoor location, the Federal Pointe Inn and the Gettysburg Hotel are two possible options. The Federal Pointe Inn, a location that has been open for nearly ten years, hosts approximately twenty wedding groups each year, with many couples choosing to spend their honeymoon at the boutique hotel. According to Owner Pete Monahan, “We’re historic, unique, and upscale. One of our amenities is a pub that our wedding groups can use before and after the wedding so they don’t have to leave the hotel. We also offer tea and scones every afternoon and our rooms are larger than most hotels.” Another prominent feature of the Federal Pointe Inn is that it offers historic areas for wedding groups to take pictures. “It photographs really well,” said Monahan. “We just had a wedding where we hung the bride’s dress from a chandelier and the photographer took a picture. The chandelier made a beautiful shot.” At the Gettysburg Hotel, couples also appreciate the unique and historic indoor space to host their weddings. View our complete list of Destination Wedding Venues “In 2000, we acquired our Grand Ballroom space, which was originally the Gettysburg National Bank and was still operating as a PNC Bank at the time,” shared Catering & Events Manager Megan Wherley. “The space was transformed into our beautiful ballroom, keeping the iconic, historic elements, including the original hand-painted and gold inlaid 28-foot ceiling with a Grecian border, as well at the impressive and formidable bank vault.” Additionally, the Gettysburg Hotel offers amenities that are popular with their wedding guests. Wherley said, “One of the biggest benefits to our couples is that we do all of their personal decorating for them. All they need to do is bring the decorations to the hotel before the wedding, then we go through it all and set up everything.” When the couple returns before the wedding, “they get a grand reveal of the space, seeing the ballroom for the first time with flowers in place, candles lit, and champagne poured, ready for guests to enter and be amazed,” said Wherley. At the end of the night, the Gettysburg Hotel staff takes the decorations down as well, allowing couples to pick up their decor in the morning. “Our venue is really a one-stop location,” said Wherley. “We provide all catering, alcohol, guestrooms, tables, chairs, linens, napkins, house centerpieces, setup and teardown and even the wedding cake. We have an extensive preferred vendor list who can provide any services that we do not offer in house. Beyond that, we have guestrooms on site, a Starbucks, and our award-winning restaurant, One Lincoln. Our goal is to provide a stress-free wedding planning experience.” For those couples who prefer scenic outdoor locations with indoor options, the Historic Round Barn, Hauser Hill Event Center, and Gettysburg National Military Park are three of the many picturesque locations in Adams County. The Historic Round Barn began hosting wedding events in 2007 for family members associated with the barn. It has since hosted nearly 200 weddings and strives to maintain the original family-oriented concept. Manager Jessica Knouse said, “There’s a lot of flexibility because we’re family owned. We do one wedding per weekend, so we are very focused on one couple. We don’t rush people on setting up or tearing down. They can have any vendors they prefer because we don’t have restrictions on vendors.” Knouse believes that guests typically choose their location for weddings because “they want to get married, but they don’t want to be in a banquet room; they want a more homey and comfortable feel. Our venue is unpretentious, uninhibited, and laid back. We’re on a farm so people can drive right up and unload.” Additionally, she shared that “One of the biggest selling points is that we have a huge inventory of decorations that people can use at no additional cost so that they don’t have to buy decorations they’ll never use again.” Another scenic outdoor venue is the Hauser Hill Event Center. It began as the Hauser Estate Winery which hosted weddings but remained open to the public. It has since rebranded to the Hauser Hill Event Center and is only open for weddings and private events. View our complete list of Destination Wedding Venues “It is such a beautiful property for weddings with stunning views in every direction,” said Event Coordinator Mindi Wood. “If they want an outdoor ceremony, we have a deck and a terrace for outdoor seating. Using tents, people can also enjoy the gorgeous views and be outside for the reception.” Wood, a former wedding photographer with 25 years of photography experience and 30 years of wedding planning experience, has an eye for detail that she believes is helpful for events. “It is important to me that every detail is carried out and that the day goes smoothly. I care about people and I want them to just enjoy the day and not have to worry about anything,” said Wood. “Hauser Hill is so beautifully decorated inside and outside that the couples really do not need to do much except show up, and that is my goal,” said Wood. “We also are very flexible with the table arrangement, times for the events, and we are handicap accessible and dog friendly.” Finally, couples who are interested in hosting their wedding at the Gettysburg National Military Park are able to do so at the park’s amphitheater on West Confederate Avenue. The location has a seating capacity of approximately 50 people on benches. However, couples may bring additional seating for larger crowds. “People can use that area via a Special Park Use permit which can be found through the park’s website,” said Special Permit Coordinator Pam Neil. Neil also noted that “there are living history encampments in the wooded area adjacent to the amphitheater itself on the weekends.” For those interested in the history of Gettysburg, Neil believes “the soldiers would certainly make an interesting backdrop.” Because Adams County is home to many different wedding venues, there are options available to all couples, whether they wish to be married under the 1920’s chandeliers at the Federal Pointe Inn, under the stars at the Hauser Hill Event Center, or anything else in between. View our complete list of Destination Wedding Venues “Adams County is the perfect wedding destination because there’s something for everyone,” said Wherley. “Foodies will find lots of unique dining options. Historians can enjoy the battlefields, museums, downtown walking tours and period shops. Nature lovers can hike the trails with plenty to explore.”

Rediscover Old Fashioned Ice Cream at Cone Sweet Cone

If you are looking for a refreshing stop on a hot day after touring the battlefield, or just have an inkling for some old-fashioned ice cream after a local meal, Cone Sweet Cone is an opportunity to satisfy your cravings. Located at 433 Baltimore St., Home Sweet Cone offers a wide variety of old-fashioned ice cream flavors. And it’s only a short walk from the Gettysburg square. Shop owners Barbara and Steve Schultz said their store offers a wide variety of products including gelato, Italian ice, ice cream, fudge, cotton candy, chocolate, and nostalgic candy. Barbara said they make their ice cream the way they like it – fresh using the best quality product – and with extra toppings. Some of the fan-favorites at Cone Sweet Cone are the premium ice cream flavors of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry cheesecake, caramel latte, butter pecan, chocolate peanut butter, and the recently-added black walnut. Locals also enjoy their four vegan options made with coconut oil and almond milk and their unique gelato flavors. Tourists often feel that they go back in time and revisit their childhood after seeing all their favorite nostalgic candies offered in the shop. Cone Sweet cone is located on the first floor of the Schultz’s bed and breakfast, A Sentimental Journey. The bed and breakfast is home to antiques and the feeling of traveling through different eras in uniquely decorated bedrooms. The building was originally an art-print and art shop but the Schultz’s decided to convert it into another business to pursue their love for bed and breakfasts and ice cream. Barbara feels that Cone Sweet Cone is a charm along the boulevard of historic Gettysburg and enjoys meeting tourists when they come and visit. She said it makes her happy to please all types of ice cream enthusiasts with their vegan and sugar free homemade ice cream options.  Stop by Cone Sweet Cone to go back in time and enjoy some of your favorite premium ice cream flavors!

Wanna learn to throw an axe? Back Alley Axe provides the opportunity

The vision for Back Alley Axe arose for owner Josh Keeney in an unlikely place: during a church Father’s Day event. “One of the activities was throwing axes. I had a lot of fun, I started visiting different axe throwing places, and I realized that Gettysburg had nothing like this,” said Keeney. Although he lived in York when he conceptualized the business in 2019, Keeney opened Back Alley Axe in Gettysburg. “I thought Gettysburg would be a great place to start because of tourists visiting in the summer, said Keeney.” Within a year of opening the unique entertainment venue in Gettysburg, Keeney and his team opened two additional locations, in Hanover and York. Since then, Keeney has continued to explore ideas for expansion. “We now have mobile axe throwing, which is a big wagon hooked to a truck and we’re going to start bringing it to festivals and weddings,” shared Keeney, “and we’re planning to open two more locations– one in Chambersburg and hopefully one in Maryland.” Keeney noted that one of the reasons he loves the business is that anyone 12 years or older can participate. “We recently had an 83-year-old grandmother come in — she had over 15 bulls-eyes,” said Keeney. For $20 per thrower, customers can enjoy an hour of excitement, with most hitting a target within 15 minutes and hitting a bulls-eye within the hour. Private lanes and late-night “glow throw” experiences are also available for additional fees. “I haven’t seen anyone come in yet that hasn’t hit at least one bulls-eye, said Keeney, “Our coaches will stick with you and help you until you feel comfortable.” “Back Alley Axe is one of the many exciting activities to do in Gettysburg. The staff does a great job creating different games to make your experience fun and competitive,” said Back Alley Axe customer Charlie Wingert. Like many businesses in the Adams County area, Back Alley Axe suffered during the pandemic. “Before the pandemic started, we were sold out from 2:00-9:00 p.m. every Saturday, and then we were shut down for three months,” said Keeney, “We were a new business, so we just tried to get through it and abide by the laws. However, Keeney expressed his gratitude for the assistance he received from Adams County residents. He said, “As soon as we were allowed to be open again, the community came out and supported us.” Keeney has three simple tips with anyone who wishes to learn the art of axe throwing. The first is “Don’t throw too hard! Sometimes it takes people twenty minutes to hit a target because they’re throwing too hard,” said Keeney. He also reminds visitors, “Don’t take it too seriously and don’t be afraid to ask for help.” Finally, he said that people should “bring a cocktail, a group of friends and have fun!” “You can go in and you know that no matter what, your day is going to be fun. It’s not really a place people go to with bad attitudes. It’s such a fun atmosphere,” Keeney said. Those who wish to explore Back Alley Axe’s offerings can visit their Gettysburg and Hanover website, https://www.backalleyaxe.com/ or their York website, https://www.backalleyaxeyork.com/ to learn more information and find answers to frequently asked questions.

Organization Profile: Adams County Office for Aging

The Adams County Office for Aging, Inc. (ACOFA) is a non-profit organization in Gettysburg, PA that provides numerous services to nearly 5,000 Adams County senior citizens annually. The ACOFA became a 501(c)(3) private, non-profit agency in 1976, along with 51 other Agencies on Aging in Pennsylvania. The agency was established through the federal Older Americans Act that mandated services for adults over the age of 60. Executive Director Vicki Huffaker, who has been employed with the ACOFA for 33 years, said, “Our main mission is advocating for older people. We want to keep people in their homes as long as possible. Our nursing homes are very good, but seniors want to maintain their independence and dignity in their homes.” Given this mission, one of the most highly utilized services is in-home care management, which is used by approximately 400 individuals on a regular basis. Other resources provided by the ACOFA include meal delivery, personal care services, caregiving, emergency response services, protective services, care assessments, adult day services, senior centers, transportation, Medicare counseling, tax assistance, and legal services. Most of these services are offered to senior citizens at no cost to them, due to federal, state, and private funding. COVID-19 changed but didn’t stop them During the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff of the ACOFA “never stopped working,” said Community Services Director Linda Thompson, “Our Executive Director updated phone and computer equipment and agency policies to allow staff to do a combination of in office and remote work, so we never lost contact with our consumers.” There were also alterations to the way services were offered to senior citizens in Adams County. “Our daily hot home-delivered meals shifted to a once-a-week delivery of frozen meal boxes to reduce exposure for volunteers and consumers,” said Thompson. Following guidance that allowed for the safe operation of senior centers after a three-month closure, “Senior centers re-opened with limited attendance and modified programming. This allowed people to get out of their homes and see their friends safely until the vaccine became available,” said Thompson.  The ACOFA operates with assistance from their committed staff members, in addition to the contributions of volunteers. Some of the office’s volunteer opportunities are meal delivery, senior center assistance, senior ranger corps, Medicare counseling, tax assistance, chore services, ombudsman, and serving on the Board of Directors or the Citizens Advisory Counsel. Volunteering Interested volunteers should, “contact the office and say they want to get involved,” according to Huffaker, “Right now, our biggest needs are delivering meals and tax services.” She also suggested that anyone who wishes to use any of the services offered should contact the office. Anyone who wishes to contribute to the office but does not have the time to volunteer may also donate in their own name or in memory of someone else. These donations help to support the resources provided to senior citizens through the office. Huffaker believes the services offered by her office are important because, “Someone has to be their voice. We protect their voice as senior citizens because they have so much to share.” To contact the ACOFA, people can use their website, https://acofa.org, or they can call the office directly at 717.334.9296.

Changes Coming to the Painted Turtle Farm at Gettysburg College

Gettysburg College and the community of Gettysburg are no strangers to forming strong partnerships. For the Painted Turtle Farm at Gettysburg College, that partnership is at the core of its mission. Located on ¾ of an acre on the northwest side of campus, the farm is a joint operation between Casa de la Cultura, a community organization that promotes the cultural rights of immigrants and the college’s Center for Public Service. Together, they address social justice and food sovereignty through sustainable agriculture. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Casa de la Cultura supervises 30 raised garden beds on the farm in which local immigrant families can grow their own food. The Center for Public Service oversees a 4,000 square foot plot for its Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Members of the community can buy a CSA share to receive weekly bags of produce from the farm. The farm’s impact in the community has grown each year since it started in 2005. The impact has increased since the partnership between Casa de la Cultura and the Center for Public Service started in 2013. Leaders from both organizations meet regularly to discuss ways to improve the farm’s operations and create new sustainability and social justice goals.  “I try to bring ideas to the working group and let them make decisions,” said Jeffery Rioux, the director of the Center for Public Service and Community Partner of the Painted Turtle Farm. Thanks to a drip irrigation system that the farm started using, the 2019-2020 growing season increased from 3,000 lbs to 4,000 lbs. Rioux hopes to continue increasing productivity this season by testing soil quality through the local Penn State Extension.  Pollinator Garden The addition of a pollinator garden next to the Painted Turtle Farm will also increase the farm’s output. Led by student Grace Verbrugge, the garden has native plants that will attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. While the farm and garden are separate operations at the moment, Rioux envisions the Painted Turtle Farm assuming ownership of the garden in the future. Honoring the Indigenous Peoples In the past, the farm mainly addressed social justice through its partnership with Casa de la Cultura and immigrant families. Now, the farm will also address social justice by honoring the indigenous peoples that once cared for the land. Volunteers will hear the farm’s new land acknowledgment statement before every volunteer shift. The statement establishes a sustainable and reciprocal relationship with the land to achieve food sovereignty, similarly to the indigenous peoples of the area. “It’s only significant if you take those words to heart. We’re going to connect it in ways that people can see,” Rioux said of the statement. To connect speech with practice, the farm will also start growing the “three sisters,” an indigenous farming practice in which corn, beans, and squash work together to help each other grow, using native seeds.   This past spring, Casa de La Cultura rebuilt all existing 30 raised garden beds for the families who own plots. The families will also benefit from a new children’s’ garden located next to the family plots. Summer Program Coordinators Emma Fee and Anna Bohenek led a group of kids in planting purple carrots and blue corn last week. “Through this project, we hope to keep the kids busy and engage them in what we do at the farm,” said Emma. Like all public spaces this past year, the Painted Turtle Farm had to operate under COVID19 restrictions. Masks, social distancing, and capacity limits resulted in little interaction between students and families in the community. Now, the restrictions are starting to ease in accordance with college and CDC guidelines. The Center for Public Service and Casa de la Cultura are currently developing safe ways to once again bring campus and community together in the fall.

Business Profile: The Inside Scoop on Mr. G’s Ice Cream

Mr. G’s is a local homemade ice cream shop in downtown Gettysburg. It is a favorite for college students, locals, and tourists. Owner Mike Gladfelter — “Mr. G” — is an alumnus of Shippensburg University. One summer he traveled home with his roommate during summer vacation and was mesmerized by his family’s ice cream shop, becoming fascinated with the idea of combining his own entrepreneurial interests and his love for ice cream. Gladfelter is very proud that one of his employees has been with him since day one. Mr. G’s was not always located in its iconic location on the corner of Baltimore and LeFever Streets. The first store opened off Route 30 in 1997 and the business moved into town 2011. The current building is situated at a prime site for local traffic and Civil War history buffs. The building is scarred with bullet holes and battle wounds from the Civil War are evident on the south side of the building. The original home was once known as Twin Sycamores, which were two trees outside of the shop that withstood the Civil War.  Astonishingly, one of the two is still standing. There is a white picket fence around the perimeter of the shop so families feel comfortable with their children running around the lawn. Customers can enjoy ring games out front and a gift shop in back. Mr. G’s partners with the Life is Good brand and sells apparel in the gift shop along with work from local Adams County artisans. They also sell candles that smell exactly like their most popular ice cream flavors! With over 50 total homemade flavors and 16 always available in the shop along with soft-serve there is always a flavor for your liking. When it is peach season in Gettysburg, fresh peach ice cream is the biggest seller. Some other fan-favorites are pumpkin in the fall, cookie dough, mint-chip, and a Mike Gladfelter favorite – black cherry. Like many businesses in 2020, Mr. G’s was dramatically impacted by COVID-19. However, a silver-lining throughout the past year was their partnership with Kennie’s Market. With over 20,000 pints of homemade ice cream delivered to the three Kennie’s Markets in Biglerville, Gettysburg, and Littlestown last year, Mr. G’s stayed busy with their new business venture and online orders throughout the pandemic. If you are visiting Gettysburg or in the Adam’s County area, plan a trip to visit Mr. G’s on 404 Baltimore Street to try some of their creamy homemade flavors to put a cherry on top of your day!

Business Profile: CJ’s Takeout and Late Night Bites, On the Go!

The timing could hardly have been worse: The local food truck CJ’s Takeout and Late Night Bites had its grand opening in March 2020, just as the pandemic hit. “Starting a business in 2020 was super challenging, but to hit the one year mark and know that we did it was an awesome feeling,” said owners Kate and Tony Hill. Tony and Kate share a love for food and cooking. As Kate describes it, “He loves to cook, I like to eat, so it just works out!” Tony is a big night owl and that helped them realize a food truck was the perfect idea and they could have a positive impact on the community. “Tony is up all night, and he’s always experimenting with different sauces and different types of food,” said Kate.  CJ’s is a huge attraction for local residents, and especially Gettysburg College students, being one of the few late night options in the area. Their busiest evenings are Friday and Saturday, and they offer a wide variety of appetizers, sandwiches, salads, and deep fried treats, as well as dinner and dessert. COVID forced the couple to change their plans by offering more takeout options and delivery.  They also took the truck on the road, stopping in at local wineries and schools. They are also excited to bring the truck to their first wedding event in September. When speaking about Gettysburg Borough’s recent proposal to limit food trucks from the first block of the square, Kate said she understood the concerns but also felt food trucks should not be limited. “I understand the frustration; it was a tough year for everyone. But I don’t think the food trucks make that big of a difference. The year has been hard for restaurants and businesses, but it has been hard on everyone, food trucks included. Food trucks often offer food that is something completely different than those restaurants have. They provide a variety of food and options and make it great for locals and visitors. It brings more business to everyone.” Kate noted that where a typical restaurant is normally open most of the day for six or seven days a week, CJ’s is only open Thursday through Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to around 2:00 a.m.. CJ’s Takeout and Late Night Bites is located across from the Gettysburg Majestic Theater at 150 Carlisle Street. To visit their website, click here. http://www.cjstakeout.com 

Business Profile: Adams County Winery

Located 8 miles west of Gettysburg in Orrtanna, Adams County Winery is the fifth oldest operating winery in the state and the largest in southern Pennsylvania. The winery’s 12.5 acre vineyard produces eight varieties of award-winning white and red grapes which are blended into a selection of standard, small batch, and seasonal wines. Owned by Katherine Bigler, the Orrtanna farm winery opened in 1975, and the business has now expanded into their Gettysburg Wine Shop on the Lincoln Square in Gettysburg. In addition to regular musical events and activities, the farm winery features the outdoor Terrace Bistro, providing guests with food accompaniments including wood fired pizzas to pair with the wines of their choosing.  The Bistro will reopen for the summer on May 8 and the winery will again have free live music and events this year. Public relations director Melissa Roth describes the farm as “…almost an escape, it is always the winery’s intention to create an environment to enjoy wine for everybody; a way to step away and relax and enjoy a great glass of wine.” Safety concerns have forced the winery to temporarily suspend its tours and tastings, but both locations offer flight options that allow guests to take their award winning wines – including Rebel Red, Tears of Gettysburg, Yankee Blue, Black Magic, and Riesling — to a table to enjoy at their leisure. “We have a safety team that determined that safety of employees and customers were first, so safety was always at the forefront. We took the pandemic as an opportunity to try new things, such as our first online wine release, which took place last spring and was a great success,” said Roth. Despite the setbacks of the pandemic, Adams County Winery is still looking to expand. Roth said the winery was in the process of building an expansion on the back of the building which will double the size of the wine-making area. Roth said the winery was also pet friendly. “The winery has always had winery dogs. Rusty was our winery dog and now we have released a wine that is named after him,” she said. But pets aren’t the only wildlife that a visitor to the Adams County Farm Winery might encounter. Retail manager Dan Baumgardner said the lush gardens that surround the bistro are “very popular and teeming with butterflies and hummingbirds to add to the atmosphere.”  Overall, Roth describes the winery as “A relaxing place where visitors can just enjoy wine. We have history in the community and have been here for years.” “We can guarantee it is a safe, friendly environment with a very knowledgeable staff and always with new wines to try,” said Baumgardner.

A Sweeet! Celebration

Owners Cindy and Mark Fox are celebrating the 9th anniversary of the opening of Sweeet! The Candy Store in downtown Gettysburg. “Everyone loves candy,” said Cindy Fox. “It’s my husband; it’s all his crazy brain. Mark was his own motivation. He gets an idea in his head and he’s committed to it. He’s going to see it through. Maybe Willy Wonka was his motivation. His plans turn out great most of the time. He’s the front end and I’m the back end. We’re perfect partners. He runs ahead and I pull back. So, we balance each other out.” Cindy said the couple chose Gettysburg because her parents have been living here for around 25 years. When she and Mark were visiting from Arizona Mark said to her, “You know what this town needs? A candy store.” Cindy said Sweeet!’s goal is fun, and that they had drawn inspiration from the movie “Dude, Where’s My Car?” when naming their business. When they first opened, they started with 1,000 items. Now, they have five times as much candy and have added 500 types of soda and 50 types of root beer. “We wanted to make sure we had 1,000 types of candy because that was a big thing for Mark,” said Cindy. “He had this vision in his head and he built and designed everything. We rented our space. Then, he built all of those shelves. He learned how to weld plastic and make little boxes. He worked nonstop when we first opened. He had the business open that first summer from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. He put all of his energy into it to make sure it was a success.” The couple had originally had not planned to close for more than two weeks when the pandemic started; however, they ended up closing for two months. One positive addition is that they were able to expand to online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery. “I’m the kind of person who hopes for the best and plans for the worst,” said Cindy. We learned a lot about the history of candy and what’s available.” “We’re outgrowing our space. We might look at opening a second store in town. We want to get bigger and better,” said Cindy. Currently, three fulltime employees in addition to Mark, and Cindy work at the shop. “We’re doing well right now since it’s spring break and people are off. Because we’re a candy shop, we are fun and not very expensive. We have candy ranging from a nickel to high end candy. We’re glad we can bring a little sunshine and fun into everyone’s lives,” said Cindy. Fox feels a sense of pride when reflecting on her business. “We’re so happy to see happy people. But Mark had a vision and he was right. When we first opened, a lot of people gave opinions. A lot of people said we should have a Civil War theme. But we just wanted to be fun. We just happen to be in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We’re the last stop after the tours.” Cindy Fox advises, “Don’t spend more than what you can afford, but commit to what you decide to do. Go all in but with an amount of money you can live with. Keep evaluating as you go along. You never know how things are going to work out. That’s what the successful businesses in town have in common. They’ve trusted their gut and done what they think will work well going forward.” She mentioned how receiving advice from others can be crucial.  When traveling, “We look around at other candy stores to get an idea. You have to make it your personality, but listen to what others like and want.” “We’re proud that everyone is welcome in our store. Sometimes we see groups of people that might not get along who come into our store. But everyone acts pleasant and polite because everyone is welcome. Customers are happy to talk about their favorite candy. Sweeet! Enforces wearing a mask while in the store.

Organization Profile: Gettysburg National Golf Club

Gettysburg National Golf Club, previously Mountain View Golf Club, is a bucolic 18-hole golf course located at the corner of Fairfield Rd. and Bullfrog Rd. in Fairfield. The layout, designed by Ault, Clark & Associates, LTD has been a staple for Adams County residents and beyond since it opened in 1980, and has been rated by Golf Digest with 4 out of 5 stars. In October 2020, the club was sold, and in addition to the new name , the new owners are already making some other big changes. In the first few months that they have owned the course, new sand has been added to the bunkers, and the hole sequence was reconfigured. The tee markers and tee placements were changed, and a new John Deere fairway mower was purchased. This spring, there are plans to bring on a brand new fleet of golf carts, and updates to the clubhouse are already underway. The new owner, Jordan Chronister, said the club is aiming to “bring out the character and history of the clubhouse with the pro shop renovations. Additionally, the course is expanding its food menu, adding draft beer lines, enclosing the patio to include new roll-up garage doors, and adding new seating areas and benches around the course.” Similar to other clubs, Gettysburg National offers a variety of tournaments and special outings. The new owners are looking to add more events in the future, but as of now there are still a number of classics, for all ages and skill levels. Chronister is  especially happy with the success of events like “Glow Golf,” “The Turkey Shoot,” and “Saturday Junior Shootouts.” While these amenities are part of what makes Gettysburg National popular, what has really given the club an influx of members is the discounted price tag. Longtime course player Thomas Gibbon said, “I have been an on and off member since the 1990s, but with the deal that was introduced with the new owners, I took advantage of the huge discount and joined along with many others.” The deal Gibbon is referring to, which has now ended, offered a two year, unlimited golf  membership and play at only $398 (carts not included). For reference, the preceding price was over $2000 for the same benefits. Even after the deal, the seasonal price is only $298 for unlimited golf through October 31, 2021 (carts not included), which is still a bargain and is available for purchase anytime. Chronister said the club remained busy throughout 2020.  “Golf has seen a huge uptick because of the pandemic…people want a safe way to be outside. We know a lot of people are out of work and struggling, so by offering inexpensive memberships we can give golfers a safe way to enjoy the outdoors while playing the game they love.” “My favorite part about the course is just having a fun way to exercise with my friends. COVID isn’t really an issue, even with the rise in memberships, because we all just get our tee times and observe safety guidelines with each other and can have a fun day together as friends,” said Gibbon.   

Local Business Profile: Enjoy Spring With A Luxurious Event Created by Gettysburg Picnics

COVID-19 has stripped many of us away from our normalcy. But as March turns to June and the sunshine starts to creep into the shades we have kept closed, many of us will choose to head outside for a picnic. Traditional picnics, with the family together in the park eating a lunch made that morning, have now transformed into luxurious outings — often with cake, champagne, pillows, and fancy attire. If you’re looking for a luxurious event, Gettysburg Picnics can provide what you are looking for. The business, managed and created by Phillip and Tessa Walter, opened in December 2020 as part of the family LLC, The Walter Years, which opened in 2019. “I can remember many, many trips to the park to feed the ducks and ‘picnics,’ which consisted of nothing more than PB & J sandwiches and blankets,” said Tessa. These memories and the influence of the pandemic helped to create Gettysburg Picnics. “While a plaid blanket and PB&J are lovely, our picnics are definitely not your basic basket,” said Tessa. Tessa creates her upscale picnics with provisions from local suppliers, picking up food at local establishments and providing centerpieces, candles, pillows, and more. The cost of a basic picnic – two people for two hours – is $200. Additional guests, up to a maximum of six, are $20 per person. Additional hours will cost $50, with a maximum of four hours. Most clients have an idea for their perfect outing and will work with Tessa to make their dreams come true. If not, Tessa can offer a surplus of ideas.   When it comes to deciding a location, the venue can either be in your backyard or in a public venue. If the site is more than 20 miles away from Gettysburg, $25 will be added to travel fees.  Additional add-ons such as fresh flowers ($30-40), personalized signs ($10-50, depending on size), massages, outdoor Mega-Jenga ($10), and photography are also available. Additionally, if you are planning to bring along your furry friend (and your venue allows it), a “Pooch Perfect Essentials Pack” ($25) is offered. In terms of food and drink, a grazing box ($30-80) option is available, made by a local friend who owns a charcuterie business. Tessa will also pick up food for clients at local establishments, but this is limited due to COVID. She hopes to be able to provide alcohol by 2022. Tessa balances her work with the picnics with her family life. Mother to a five-month-old, she explained working and having a newborn as, “Interesting to say the least. What I strive for more than balance is presence. When I am with my son, which is the majority of my day, I try my best to be present. It’s very easy to drift off into the picnic world’ and be thinking of all the things I could or should be doing for our business.” Gettysburg Picnics will be offering its first 2021 picnics in April. Tessa puts up and takes down all picnics on her own and recommends booking 2-3 weeks ahead of time.  Contact Gettysburg Picnics at www.thewalteryears.com/gettysburg-picnics, @gettysburgpicnics on Instagram, or email them at gettysburg.picnics@gmail.com. The Walter Years offers a wide range of services, including career and financial coaching, freelance writing, and tech support in addition to Gettysburg Picnics.

Business Profile: Aura Integrative Medicine

After a career in traditional Western medicine, Dr. Smitha Nair M.D. became interested in providing a more holistic medical approach for her patients — one where she could spend quality time with them and get to the root causes of their problems.  Dr. Nair discovered integrative medicine and in 2017 opened the doors to her own office: Aura Integrative Medicine in Gettysburg. Nair uses a focused, holistic, and natural approach, seeing female patients of all ages with many different health concerns. “I use food as medicine, that is the core thing”, she explained. “The conditions I see are mainly gut related – any digestive concerns — bloating and all of those related conditions. Autoimmune conditions are also something I commonly see –  thyroid issues, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes – all of these.” Having studied both traditional and integrative medicine, Nair well understands the differences between them. Nair said the first difference is time. In her integrative medicine practice, Nair is able to spend seventy-five minutes with her patients just for their first visit. This is much longer than a traditional doctor appointment. “It is a more elaborate intake form, where I actually look at not just the patient’s medical history, but their relationships, stress level, and their lifestyle is key. The lab testing we do is more root cause analysis than just saying ‘Okay let’s fix it with a pill, put a Band Aid over this symptom type of treatment’”. She is able to look at her patients’ conditions more fully, get to know the patient to find out why they are truly feeling the way they are, and discover how they can change if they want to. Nair said many people across the world are talking about the importance of gut health and maintaining a healthy diet and sleep schedule and that she emphasized the importance of each of these for her patients.  “Gut health is the root cause for sure, because there is a lot of research nowadays where the microbiome plays a huge role in how chronic illness happens. Healing your gut is so important to your overall health.”  Along with gut health, Nair focuses on mindfulness and meditation. Nair said women today are frequently so focused on what is going on around them and keeping up with the things needed to do in their daily life they don’t remember how important it is to take a break, to take care of yourself when you need it. “Stress plays a huge role in chronic illnesses, and the cortisol level causes inflammation in your body. Just by reducing that stress, by doing breathing exercises and guided meditation, this has an impact on your overall health and will reduce that overall inflammation,” said Nair. Nair also has a mindfulness based stress reduction certification, and recommends mindful meditation to patients while guiding them to the resources that will help them.  “Many women I have seen feel so much better with these lifestyle changes,” she said In addition to her practice at Aura Integrative Medicine, Dr. Nair has an active role in the local community. She works for Care Here in Hanover as her second part time job, where she sees the employees of the nursing home. She is a member of the women’s networking group “Business Women Influencing Gettysburg.” Also, she is on the board of the YWCA of Gettysburg. She currently lives in Gettysburg with her husband Dr. Raj Makkenchery and three children. Dr. Nair is taking new patients virtually. For more information, please visit the AURA website.

Organizational Profile: Local Shop GettysGear “Leans Into” the Pandemic, Creating Opportunities Though Creative Thinking and Marketing

“You really only have two choices right now: You can take your ball and go home, or you can lean down and put your shoulder into it,” said Cary Gregory, owner of GettysGear, located at 777 Baltimore St. in the Old Gettysburg Village in Gettysburg. The store, which also has an online nation footprint, sells unique items from Gettysburg. “The shop owes its existence to a desire to help smaller businesses,” said Gregory. “It’s probably been about ten years now. [We were thinking] ‘Boy, somebody should really do something to help with community outreach for the small businesses.’ So, we started this thing called ‘Great Gettysburg Addresses.’ The focus was to bring attention to the many small and unique businesses that make Gettysburg Gettysburg.” GettysGear developed into a commercial entity that carries a curated collection of high-quality products at reasonable prices, and offers exceptional customer service. “Our ultimate goal is to focus on unique, handcrafted, locally made, products. We’re in the high ninety-percentile of locally made American aspects,” said Gregory.        COVID-19 precautions are taken seriously at GettysGear. “We are a high touch environment because we want people to come in and touch our stuff. We added a hand sanitizing station. We have food samples in the store for snacks and treats, but now we have them individually bagged. Those are some things we’ll keep even after the pandemic because they are just good ideas. We use an aerosolized cleaner once a day or a few times a week depending on traffic. Our staff are all masked. We require our customers to be masked. We made a fun sign using our mascot to remind people.” Gregory said he moved to Gettysburg with the retirement in mind.  “I technically retired, but I learned after six months that I am not particularly good at that,” Gregory said. “I’ve always been a retailer; I’ve always been a merchant. I find it a creative outlet; it’s fun.” Gregory runs the store with his wife and his daughter works at the store. “There’s a bit of a family angle as well that comes into play. There is a gratification in seeing your work appreciated by somebody.” Gregory said. “Our products are literally all over the world.” Gregory said his father sacrificed a great deal to provide a better life for his family and he continues to view his father as his hero, even after his passing. “There is only one direction and that’s forward,” said Gregory.  “It is never as good or as bad as you think it is. As people, we tend to be very linear at times. You need to be able to move forward and prepare for what’s coming next because this too shall pass.” “You never know what the next day is going to bring. The best Plan A is a good Plan B. Get eighty percent right and then go. The minute you start, it is going to change on you anyway. Have the right people, and have the right skill sets. Then, you adjust on the fly,” said Gregory as he cautions other small business owners at this time. “I’d like to see a continued growing business, respect and humility restored to the world, and for my children to thrive,” said Gregory as he looks to the future. Gregory warns that small businesses need to focus on marketing. “We do a variety of different things [to promote the business]. We are always evaluating and testing. We do some traditional things. We have a social media presence. You have to be omni-directional. You can’t be singular in your advertising because that is not how data is consumed today. We like interacting with our customers and talking to them.” Gregory finds a strong sense of pride when reflecting on GettysGear. “Yeah, I believe that that’s why you [start a small business]. There’s pride of ownership. When we do things, I know I’m my own biggest critic. I see things that others overlook.” Gregory tries to live without any regrets; however, if he could go back to the beginning of GettysGear he wishes a few things might have occurred. “I should have taken some of my own advice. I needed more focus and needed to address issues aggressively, and more early on. I have multiple businesses; this business probably did not have as much focus as it should have. I treat this business as a client now. It gets a better amount of time. I enjoy it a lot more.” Gregory encourages new business owners to “be passionate about what it is you want to do. Have a clear, concise plan of what you want to accomplish. Be well capitalized. Do not invest your retirement money. You have to be able to plan and pivot. Align with the right people.”

LOCAFLORA Design Opens in Gettysburg this Weekend with Local Flowers, Arrangements, Plants, and Botanical Gifts

Adams County resident Becca Muller is bringing her floral arranging skills and her love of natural and sustainable products to a new shop called LOCAFLORA Design in downtown Gettysburg. The shop is located across from the Rabbit Transit Center at 201 Carlisle St., Gettysburg. The warm and inviting boutique carries local flowers, plants, soaps, candles, and many other botanical gifts. On display now are a variety of plants that can cheer up a household during the holidays, including Christmas Cactus, Norfolk Island Pines, and Lemon Cyprus. “The plants allow people to get a bit of cheer in their homes.  Something living that doesn’t have to be thrown away. It’s especially good if you have a small apartment,” said Muller. “We’re all paring down a bit.  These decorations will last you the whole year long and hopefully beyond.” Muller said she has been providing event and wedding floristry for the past year and half. “I was getting a lot of requests for individual bouquets and I didn’t want to have to say no. I’m really looking forward to sharing local sustainable floristry with everyone, and not just wedding couples. This is a great way to form relationships within the community.”  Muller said her flowers are all from local growers located with 100 miles of Gettysburg. LOCAFLORA specializes in internet ordering from their website at http://LocaFloraDesign.com. Curbside pickup is available Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sundays 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The shop itself is open Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with no more than four people allowed at a time in the store.  Facemasks are required. Muller says she has been stepping up to the difficulties created by the pandemic. “It’s a challenge to figure out how to open a beautiful shop that you don’t want people to spend too much time in,” said Muller. “My goal is to make the best online opportunity I can.”

Gettysburg and New Oxford Gettysburg Christmas Haus Shops Provide a Unique Christmas Experience

With the holiday season approaching, Adams County’s two Christmas Haus shops are busy bringing the authentic spirit of German Christmas to locals and tourists alike. The two shops are located at 13 Baltimore St. in Gettysburg and at 110 Lincoln Way W., on the New Oxford Square. Shop owner Roger Lund said the first shop in New Oxford opened in 2002 and the business then expanded into Gettysburg in 2018. “What started out as a small general store in the Washington D.C area has evolved into this gem in Gettysburg,” said Dylan Rabold, the Gettysburg store manager. Rabold said the Gettysburg shop had a wide variety of customers. “People from all over the country come to see us regularly because we are what they consider to be one of a kind. We have a certain flair for uniqueness,” said Rabold.  This “flare” that Rabold touches on can be seen in the quality products that are either locally-made or imported from small towns in Germany. The ornaments are made by small family owned businesses that have been practicing glass blowing methods since the early 1500’s.  The focus on authentic German decorations goes hand in hand with the shop’s dedication to making sure that everything they sell is of the highest quality.  “Suppliers started taking their manufacturing out of Europe and into China and the quality started to suffer,” said Rabold. “But the one thing that remained the same was the German Christmas items so it kind of blew up into kind of a Christmas niche and has been that way for 18 years now.” The two shops are working to maintain and even expand their customer base during the pandemic. “Both locations are doing great. Customers feel comfortable coming in. It’s been a win-win for us to face the COVID situation head on,” said Lund. We have hours for seniors and an enormous online business.” Rabold said the Gettysburg shop is dedicated to making sure the Christmas spirit is just as present in 2020 as it has been in any other year and is working hard to plan events for locals and visitors in a safe manner.  “With the current Gettysburg Christmas festival being in a different set up this year, we are planning events that we can hold every weekend,” said Rabold. “My favorite part about Christmas is not so much the decorations but that it turns people into better versions of themselves.”

Big Hill Ciderworks Opens Taphouse on Orchard in Gardners

By 2013, Ben Kishbaugh and Troy Lehman had grown tired of the Detroit auto industry where they were working together. They wanted to create their own business that focused on top-tier customer service and meeting the needs of their customers, both wholesale and retail. And they each had dreams of owning and operating a farm. Leaving the Midwest, the pair entered the “brew world,” starting with home brew and eventually creating Big Hill Ciderworks where they make cider from their dream farms in the apple country of Adams County near where they each grew up. “It was a hope and a dream to make it all work, and it’s come together so far,” said Kishbaugh.  “The soil, the micro-climates, all of that goes into the quality of the fruit that comes out of it. Really, this is such a great fruit-growing region.” Big Hill Ciderworks uses all natural flavoring without any use of added sugar or sweeteners. The partners each grow their fruit on their own farms, and use this fruit for their business, where they process the fruit and sell it as hard cider. Kishbaugh and Lehman taught themselves to grow fruit, operate a farm, and make cider. When discussing the learning process, Kishbaugh explains,“We learn every day.” Their methods include a lot of reading, experiments, and trial and error. They also have learned a lot from the local community of farmers and growers. Kishbaugh says, “We’ve been very fortunate. A lot of the growers around us are willing to help us out and give us an opinion if we ask for it.” They continuously learn, as the fruit changes with the climate and the environment from year-to-year. Big Hill Ciderworks has recently expanded to include a taphouse on the Gardners, PA farm at 388 Georgetown Road. The partners  have created an outdoor space that follows all current COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. They want their guests to experience the beauty of the orchards in space where the fruit is grown. Business hours are Fridays from 4:00 p.m to 10:00 p.m, Saturdays from noon to 10::00 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 7:00 p.m. There is currently limited outdoor seating, but there are food trucks and guests are also encouraged to bring their own food and snacks. In the future, they hope to grow their business to include a fruit stand, bar service, a tasting room, and including a “pick-your-own” area on the farm. Although the pandemic has shifted how they can operate their taphouse, Kishbaugh and Lehman hope to keep expanding and growing their business. Big Hill cider can also be found around Pennsylvania and at two locations in Washington D.C.

Fairfield Inn Reopens as Mansion House 1757

The Mansion House 1757, located at 15 W. Main St. in Fairfield, and previously called the Fairfield Inn, has reopened under the ownership of Cindy and George Keeney. The couple bought the property in June 2020. The property was originally named the Mansion House when it was built in 1757.  The Mansion House houses a sit-down farm-to-table restaurant, with light fare in the tavern area, as well an outdoor seating area, all under the direction of Chef de Cuisine, George Keeney. The restaurant makes use of local suppliers including Twin Springs Farms, Big Hill Cider, Weikert’s Egg Farm, the Farm at Virginia Mills, the Adams County Winery, the Mason-Dixon Distillery, and the Fair Field Farm. The restaurant offers an extensive wine list and a sophisticated menu as well as a carry-out selection. There are six rooms in the boutique inn, which also hosts weddings, rehearsal dinners, and other events.  The Kinneys said buying the Mansion House had provided them an opportunity to establish a family legacy. When asked how the business has been for Mansion House, Keeney described it as “COVID-Busy”. “There has been an increase in the number of overnight rooms in September,” Keeney said. Unlike other local restaurants and bar locations, Mansion House has a bigger indoor space that can seat many patrons. Pennsylvania restaurants are currently allowed to seat up to 50% capacity, but in the name of safety Keeney says the Mansion House is still only using 25% capacity. Having an outdoor seating area opens up more options for the inn.  Keeney said when dealing with Covid-19 as a business there is nothing else to do but stay positive and safe. The inn follows proper social distancing guidelines, with hand-sanitizer at the front and back doors, and also provides all service with a mask-on policy.  Keeney is pleased with local support for the reopening, saying Fairfield Borough has been very embracing and the Fairfield borough council was very efficient. Mansion House also has five different local artists’ work displayed on their property.

Organization Profile: Timbrel Wallace Shares Lark Gifts with the Community

Timbrel Wallace is the owner of Lark Gifts at 17 Lincoln Square in Gettysburg, a business she started in 2011 and which she has grown over the years. “We primarily sell gift items from small U.S. companies,” said Wallace. “I worked for Crate and Barrel for about six years in Atlanta. That was where I got my interest in retail.” Wallace said her family lives in Pennsylvania and she appreciated having the opportunity to relocate here. “We moved here and purchased a store that was an ongoing business in Littlestown; we ran that for about six years,” said Wallace. After that store closed, she started her business in Gettysburg. “I really wanted to get back into owning another store and starting a new business. I have always been interested in things that are visual in nature; I really like design and art. These concepts are all wrapped up in retail,” Wallace said. “I have always been about embracing change in terms of bringing in new products and trying out new marketing ideas. I am always looking forward to the next thing.” Wallace said dealing with the pandemic was difficult, but the store was surviving. “When COVID-19 came along I was stunned. However, I realized that if I wanted to keep moving forward, I would need to quickly pivot in order to keep my business going and to serve the customers. We got our website more fully populated; we started offering free contactless delivery and free shipping for orders over fifty dollars. Seeing people wave to me from their front porches when I dropped off their orders was the height of my day,” Wallace said. “We are following all of the recommendations from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. We do temperature screenings every day. All customers and employees must wear masks. We clean the employees’ back spaces just as often as we clean the public spaces.” Wallace said customers who are unable to follow mask guidelines may sit in a waiting area and can use a tablet for a contactless shopping experience. Wallace said her businesses are not at risk of closing at this time and no one has been laid off during the pandemic. Wallace said she was surprised by the number of weekend tourists that pay her shop a visit. Wallace said serving the Gettysburg community with her unique gifts holds great significance to her and that she does not plan to expand outside of Gettysburg. “The biggest challenge in starting a new business is getting your name out there and finding people who are willing to give your business a try,” said Wallace.  “These relationships should never be taken lightly.” “My husband was a supporter of me then and now. He was always, in every way, supportive.” Wallace also own Nerd Herd Gifts and Games at 10 York Street and would like to open still another store in Gettysburg.  “I enjoy the concept of having an idea and then being able to see it through; that’s what I’m proudest of.  If you have an idea just make it happen. You can always learn from your failures,” said Wallace. Wallace recommends that following to anyone who would like to start a new business: “Do your research. Find any kind of small business association and listen to what they have to say to you. Know who your customers are and what they want.”

Business Profile: Jack’s Hard Cider is Way More than Cider

Jack’s Hard Cider is much more than your typical cider brewing company, and Its story is like none you have heard before.  “It was a bit of a surprise that I ended up buying Jack’s Hard Cider out of bankruptcy in late December 2018,” said owner, Donald Hoffman. “Once I realized I had it I decided that if we were gonna do it, we were gonna do it right.”  From what seemed to others a business with nothing left to give, Hoffman made his own while also ensuring the legacy of Jack Hauser, the original founder of Jack’s Hard Cider, would not fade.  When asked what makes Jack’s Hard Cider so distinguishable from the rest, marketing manager Polly Patrono said “Our hard cider is made from local fruit, first of all. A lot of bigger hard cider companies use concentrate, but we get bins of apples in daily and press them on site.” The popular and original hard cider was only the beginning for Hoffman. What began as a small brewery soon took on more than a couple projects and has plenty more coming in the near future.  “Atomic Dog LLC owns three entities: Atomic Dog Winery, Jack’s Hard Cider, and Mela Kitchen” said Hoffman.  Hoffman said these three pieces of the company have demonstrated to locals and tourists that Jack’s Hard Cider is the place to be if you are looking to enjoy the finest of spirits and entertainment.  Hoffman said rebuilding Jack’s Hard Cider was not an easy or quick job, especially during a pandemic.  “It’s been really neat to see what could happen. I never imagined in a million years that you could take an old movie theater and make it into this beautiful light and airy restaurant,” said Patrono.  With the dedication and commitment of the employees at Jack’s Hard Cider the company was also still able to continue shipping its cider along the West Coast as well as delivering online orders to those in the area during the COVID-19 outbreak.  “During the height of the pandemic one of our chefs even volunteered to deliver online orders” said Patrono.  “We are here to give back as much as we are to deliver our service,” said Hoffman when asked how his company has impacted the community of Adams County.  Patrono said Hoffman named the company because he had rescued pitbull dogs. “You are able to see the personal commitment that Jack’s Hard Cider has to the community by simply looking at their name!” “Most of my colleagues that have worked with me and most people I knew were asking me if taking on Jack’s Hard Cider was my mid-life crisis or if I was going off the deep end. I would have never guessed this would be my career path, but now that I’m doing it and working with all the people I’m working with, I’m excited as heck for not only what we are today, but what we are going to be,” said Hoffman.

Hauser Estate Winery in Cashtown Reopens as Hauser Hill Event Center

The Hauser Hill Event Center celebrated its grand opening on August 23 with a gala catered event at their hilltop location at 410 Cashtown Rd. in Biglerville.  The new business will operate as an event center for weddings, banquets, corporate retreats, as well as fundraising and charity events.  The spacious building on 172 acres was built in 2007 by Jack and Helen Hauser, who owned the land and apple orchards. The couple also opened the Hauser Hill Winery in Gettysburg in 2008. Both businesses closed recently. The new owners, Melinda Davis and Hannah Hauser, took over in January with the help of Davis’ daughter and Hauser’s niece, Mindi Wood, who manages the center. Although the purpose of the new business is different, the breathtaking views and gracious ambiance that drew people to the old location remain the same. The center is located in a private and peaceful setting, which makes it the ideal location for private and public events.  The owners have been cleaning and renovating the property, and the long road leading up the hill to the event center has been paved. “You can see almost forty miles of farmland, forest, and orchard. And it’s just gorgeous,” said Wood. In the newly-renovated building, there is a plaque with the pictures of Jack and Helen to honor them and the history of the land.  The original building, designed with vaulted ceilings, fireplaces, and floor-to-ceiling windows, includes an attached deck and patio with outdoor seating. Hauser Hill also has the ability to hold larger outdoor events under tents. “It’s perfect for birthday parties, bridal showers, weddings, class reunions, and more,” said Wood. “The possibilities are endless.” Wood said the business also plans to host public music events that will include a door entrance fee, to which guests can bring their own food and enjoy live music.  Wood has 25 years of experience as a wedding photographer, and she plans to make Hauser Hill the ultimate wedding destination. The location has a pre-civil war guesthouse that serves as a private place for a bride to get ready and take photos, and which has been newly renovated and remodeled.  Other hopes for the business include making beautiful and rustic spaces within the property to create more photo destinations for events. There are plans to plant a field of wildflowers as well. Although the business is no longer making wine, they have not ruled out that possibility for the future. Hauser Hill still grows and sells fruit and plans to expand and grow as a business in the Adams County Community.

Fourcorners Comics and Games in Gettysburg Supports the Community and the Adams County Library System

Fourcorners Comics and Games co-owners Holly Krichten and Arthur Sanchez have been selling comic books, manga, board games, cards, and other entertainment in Gettysburg for the past five years and supporting the Adams County Library System at the same time.  The couple started the shop at 42 Baltimore Street in Kritchen’s hometown in 2015. “We’ve wanted to open a comic shop for a while,” said Sanchez. “The idea of opening a comic book store was always in the back of my mind.” Sanchez researched the area in order to find a proper starting place. “It has been a challenge since day one. You have two people who have a vast knowledge, but it isn’t exactly in shop owning,” said Sanchez. “It was kind of just a dream and we weren’t sure if it was going to work out. Every new thing that we tried was a learning curve,” said Kritchen. Sanchez and Kritchen said they learned to adapt to difficulties and move forward from the very beginning and that customer service is the most important part of any business.  During the pandemic, most of the comic book publishers halted their publications, forcing comic book fans to wait for their stories to continue, and creating difficulties for the shop. “We’ve taken the years of struggle and hard work we’ve always done, and applied it to this particular situation,” said Sanchez. “Here’s the reality with the comic book store: It’s a lot different than other shops because we have periodicals that come out on a weekly basis.”  “We knew that if we just did something every day or tried to keep selling what we had in the store that was still available the business would not have to close,” said Kritchen.  Sanchez said he was thankful tourists were still visiting Gettysburg even with the lack of reenactments this summer. “Our community is what helped us make it through the shutdown.” Sanchez and Krichten both see the pandemic as a serious situation and have made a few new policies for themselves, their employees, and their customers. Face masks are a requirement and must be worn over the nose. The store is disinfected numerous times a day. The shop offers curbside pick-up and this service may continue even after the pandemic ends. Krichten and Sanchez said they advertise through a newsletter and a live video feed on a weekly basis, and hold numerous giveaways. “There’s a free comic book day, where we give out hundreds and hundreds of comics for free and  raise money for the Adams County Library,” said Sanchez.  Because the comic book giveaway day had to be cancelled this year, they held it online over the span of three months and donated any tips they received to the Adams County Library. Looking forward, Sanchez and Kritchen said they do not want to expand — rather, they want to be able to purchase the current building they are in and devout as much time to the shop as possible. They would like to increase their internet presence.  When they think about their business, for which they and a part-time employee devote far beyond normal work hours, there is a huge sense of pride. “We worked and gave up quite a bit of our lives,” said Sanchez. “We have a community that supports us and we’re able to give towards our community.”  

Center for Youth and Community Development Celebrates 20 Years

If you, your child, or another member of your family or your community is struggling with substance abuse or other psychological problems, or if you are hoping to enroll in programs that might prevent these issues from developing, the Adams County Center for Youth and Community Development (CFYCD) may be able to help out. CFYCD is celebrating 20 years of working with partner organizations, volunteers, and other community members to develop the positive potential of youth within safe, supportive families and communities. The nonprofit center is home to a collaborative board of community members and organizations, Collaborating for Youth (CFY), that focuses on developing the potential of youth & families by inspiring positive life choices. CFYCD Staff, Members, and Volunteers CFYCD, housed at 233 W. High Street in Gettysburg, coordinates community offerings including after school programs and substance abuse prevention efforts. “We are a group of citizens and volunteers sitting together at the table. Our mission is youth development and safe communities,” said CFYCD’s Executive Officer Andrea Dolges. We’ve reduced the risk factors for substance abuse over the course of our 20 years and increased the protective measures in our children’s lives.” Collaborating for Youth provides a sense of community,” said Michelle Kern, CFYCD’s Development and Coalition Coordinator. “It’s interesting to see how people help each other.” After School Programs The 21st Century After School Program Director Sami Slusser coordinates the CFYCD after school program. This evidence based program helps supplement the school day by allowing students to explore different topics and get homework help. “Every middle and elementary school in Adams County offers a free after school program,” said Kern. “There are 19 sites, with over 500 kids.” A focus of the program is on STEM subjects, but children can also do their homework or just read a book. There are no income requirements to attend this program.” “The program keeps kids busy in those in-between hours. That’s a dangerous time for potential juvenile delinquency,” said Kern. The CFYCD program is funded in part by a Nita M. Lowery 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Overdose Awareness Task Force Kern coordinates the Overdose Awareness Task Force that coordinates activities with the goal of reducing overdose deaths in the county. The task force provides support to these community members, letting them know they are not alone. Formed to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic in the area, the task force’s vision is “Education. Support. Saving Lives.” Kern said CFY’s programs are based on data collected about Adams County children through the PAYS PA Youth Survey, which is administered every other year in each county school district to 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. The data gathered in PAYS provides information concerning changes in use and abuse of harmful substances and assesses risk factors related to these behaviors and the protective factors that can help guard against them. Youth Coalition The CFCDY Youth Coalition works to reduce substance abuse and create a healthy environment for youth in Adams County. This year, the students are working on positive messaging campaigns in their schools. Supported by a team of adult mentors, and directed by CFYCD staff member Nate Sterner, the Youth Coalition carries out strategies to reduce underage drinking and prevent medicine abuse. Other CFYCD Projects Other ongoing projects at the center include the Strengthening Families Program 10-14 that helps parents protect and empower their children through communication of family values, standards regarding substance use, and hopes for their child’s future. The program is a two-hour skill building program for families with children between 10 and 14 that is held in Gettysburg and Biglerville. For more information on how to get your family involved, contact Annika Kelly annika@cfygettysburg.com The program is recognized as evidence based program by many national agencies, including the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency, the US Department of Education, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Familias Fuertes is a Spanish language version of the Strengthening Families Program 10-14. Collaborating For Youth also partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Incredible Years, TrueNorth, Youth Advocate Program, Gettysburg College, Healthy Adams County, and local businesses to provide evidence based programs and support. CFYCD hosts town hall meetings, participates in national youth leadership seminars, and works with local legislators on youth and substance abuse prevention issues. Collaborating for Youth was founded 1999 by founding director Sharron Michels out of a desire on the part of community residents and leaders to make community-wide changes to improve the lives and futures of youth in Adams County. The coalition includes members from schools, churches, government, not for profits, health care, parents and interested citizens. Most importantly, CFY includes youth voices. “It’s super fun. I don’t think I’ve ever loved doing anything so much. We have a great community here in Adams County, said Dolges. “Collaborating for Youth is making Gettysburg a better place to live,” said Kern. CFYCD is always interested in matching volunteers with ways to make a difference in the community. Contact CFYCD: Email: office@cfygettysburg.com Phone: 717-338-0300

Organization Profile: Ploughman Cider

The United States is the only country where you need to call cider “hard,” said Ben Wenk, owner of Ploughman Cider, located at 1606 Bendersville-Wenksville Road in Aspers, and the Ploughman Cider Taproom on the Gettysburg Square. Wenk said the difference was simple: “Cider has alcohol; apple juice doesn’t.” Wenk is a seventh generation farmer at Three Springs Fruit Farm in Aspers, who took up cidermaking and founded Ploughman in 2016. Ploughman cider is made primarily from apples grown on the 400-acre farm. I came back from college and “didn’t really know what I wanted to do. But I wanted to start something new,” said Wenk. Wenk said he tried various ciders from different makers and decided to give cider-making a go. “I started by hosting cider parties with my friends. Then I became obsessed,” said Wenk. Ploughman cidermaker Hans Winzeler said the company was “doubling production” to fulfill the demand for cider. “People are used to sweet ciders that appeal to the mass palette,” said Ploughman cidermaker Hugh Lewis. But the fermentation process leaves a product that is no longer sweet. “The fermentation is complete. All the sugars are gone,” said Winzeler. Wenk said the success of Three Springs in selling fruit at farm markets in Philadelphia “gave me the confidence to start the cider operation.” I really understood what it meant to make cider, said Wenk, when I learned that “cider is not a value-added product.” Wenk said cidermakers do not use discards from the apple crop to make their product, but “grow the best cider apples possible.” “I got excited about growing fruit for cider,” said Wenk. The appearance of the fruit doesn’t matter. It’s all about the sugar, the finish, and the aroma.” “The apples you start with are super important,” said Lewis, noting the cider apples used in the Ploughman ciders include Dabinett, Frequin rouge, Rome, JonaGold , Goldrush, and Stayman Winesap. The cider business is “a competitive and crowded marketplace,” said Wenk. “It’s made like wine and sold like beer.” “We’re trying to figure out our place. The educational curve is steep,” said Wenk. The cidermakers add yeasts when necessary and may use sulfites to protect the cider against oxidation. But “our best products are from natural fermentation,” said Winzeler. Winzeler said the manufacturing process also includes the addition of carbon dioxide to give the product “bubble and fizz.” Ploughman ciders are aged from 8 to 12 months in the bottles before being distributed, said Winzeler. “The cider is unpasteurized,” said Wenk. WInzeler said he learned a lot about making cider during a visit to Herfordshire, England, an area where many ciders are made. “Cider pairs with almost any food,” said Winzeler. “Every year our cider is better.” “Cidermakers are always trying new things. We dabble and find out what works,” said Lewis. In addition to the taproom, Ploughman’s cider is sold in bars, retail outlets, and farmers markets around the state. The taproom is known not only for its wide variety of ciders, but also for the quality of the musicians who play there on Friday and Saturday nights and on Sunday afternoons. Wenk said the taproom would begin hosting open mic nights on Thursdays, starting February 6 and that a “Cider School,” in which visitors can engage in an informal “sensory analysis” of various ciders would begin on Monday nights, starting February 10. Wenk, who is also a well-recognized local musician, said a fundamental strategy for the taproom was to “hire the best musicians you can.” Featured image caption:  Cidermakers Winzeler and Lewis

Business Profile: Gettysburg CBD American Shaman

CBD American Shaman, at 135 Baltimore St. Gettysburg, had its grand opening on January 3. “Our current hours are 11 to 5 on Saturday and Sunday. Until we make our presence known we’ll just do weekends. That will probably change in the spring,” said store co-owner Jay Whittle. Gettysburg CBD American Shaman The shop sells products that contain cannabidiol (CBD), an extract from plants including hemp, which is used by millions of people as a health supplement. The American Shaman products, all made from hemp plants, include concentrates, tinctures, creams, salves, capsules, and other forms of CBD. CBD is used to reduce pain, alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and for a variety of other benefits. The store is one of a chain of over 600 stores across the nation. It’s changed my life,” said store employee Rose Firestone. “I haven’t had a migraine in over three years and I’ve improved my tinnitus.” “Everybody needs a different regime. Our goal is to change people’s quality of life,” said Firestone. Whittle said the product could start working for people in as little as 10 minutes. “A gentleman from Ohio walked in to the store. He tried some of our product and walked around the rest of the day. He came back later and bought some because it worked so well,” said Whittle. Customers must be 21 years of age to make purchases. Although CBD is a cannabinoid, the products do not have psychoactive properties. By federal law the products all contain less than .3 percent of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Firestone prepares a tincture “We want to be as transparent as possible. We work with the FDA to create standards,” said Firestone. “Every farm has a certificate of analysis which is tested by a third party source,” said Whittle. “CBD in general is unregulated. A lot is imported from China and India,” said Whittle. “All our products are grown and processed by this company. There are no imports or outsourcing. We have farms in Colorado, Montana, and Kentucky.” “We also have some inventory that is grown locally,” he said. “You see CBD sold everywhere. It’s a fatty oil like a fish oil. Our products are water soluble that get close to 100 percent absorption in the body,” said Whittle. “That’s a game changer.” According to the American Shaman website, hemp products have been permanently removed from the Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Hemp is now deemed an agricultural commodity, and no longer classified as a controlled substance. “Our products are legal in all 50 states and are safe to take when you travel. They have been officially removed from TSA-prohibited items,” said Whittle. American Shaman participates in the Compassionate Care Program which helps people find affordable medications. “We don’t want anyone living in pain or unable to use the product because they can’t afford it. If you’re in the program you get a 30 percent discount,” said Whittle. American Shaman is owned by Whittle and his partners Ron Haskell and Ron Gross.

Gateau Monique Bakery Becomes Littlestown Tradition

It was five years ago that Littlestown resident Monique Washirapunya opened her boutique bakery, Gateau Monique, in downtown Littlestown. Since then hundreds of people have enjoyed Washirapunya’s creative desserts, and the bakery has become a fixture in Adams County and the Littlestown community. Washirapunya said her bakery is a small-town business and “a personal thing. I can’t go anyplace without hearing ‘Oh, you’re the bakery lady!’” “I’ve grown to love Littlestown. It’s become my home,” said Washirapunya. The bakery supports community organizations, and partners with local small businesses. Washirapunya said the bakery specializes in retail and wholesale sales and supplying desserts to weddings and events. Gateau Monique is “not super-traditional French, but offers a European style which uses less sugar, but more dark chocolate and butter,” she said. “Some customers were skeptical at first – they wanted to know where the donuts were. But now a lot of families are interested. They trust what we do,” said Washirapunya. Washirapunya’s assistant, Mike Warner, said the bakery’s savory offerings, including the onion and shallot pop tarts, were popular on Saturday mornings. “We have a line out on the street waiting for the open sign to flip at 8 a.m.” Warner, who lives down the street from the bakery in Littlestown said he started at the bakery by helping Washirapunya move a refrigerator, and ended up as a baker. Before opening Gateau Monique, Washirapunya attended culinary school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, worked at Antrim 1884 in Taneytown, and earned a business degree from McDaniel college. “The business education has helped me tremendously,” said Washirapunya. “Every year 100-130 Kindergarten children from Alloway Creek Elementary come through on a field trip. They learn about the baking machines and they bake cookies,” said Washirapunya. Washirapunya said the bakery also has close relationships with the Littlestown Little League and girls’ soccer. “We really try to support the Littlestown community.” Washirapunya said she had initially expected to be only a wholesale operation, but when she took a look at the old barbershop building that became the bakery, she decided otherwise. “The windows were so nice I opened for retail,” she said. Washirapunya said she hopes to expand in Littlestown by opening a market selling local produce along with the bakery. Gateau Monique is offering gift boxes with bakery aprons and samples from local businesses for the holidays. “It’s something unique at Christmas,” said Washirapunya. For more information, please visit Gateau Monique’s business listing.

Business Profile: Twin Springs Fruit Farm

Four friends, looking to the future and already involved in the Adams County fruit-growing tradition, pooled their knowledge, bought some land, and began a new business forty years ago. Today that business has grown from the initial 20-acre purchase with four employees to 300 acres and as many as 45 full-time workers. The Orrtanna business, Twin Springs Fruit Farm, is located off Orchard Road in the hills above the Adams County Winery. Three of the original partners, Jim Frazee, Eddie Rankin, and Sam Walner have now retired from the business. The fourth, Aubrey King, remains a partner, now joined by his sons Michael and Jesse. The original 20 acres, purchased in 1979, included full-size fruit trees and a farm stand. “We were all dabbling in the fruit business,” said Frazee. “We hit on a group of people who got along,” said King. Twin Springs originally sold its produce locally at the farm stand on Route 30 west of Gettysburg. But Frazee said an article by Jim McPhee in the New Yorker magazine, titled “Giving Good Weight,” and written about the life of farmers participating in “direct farm markets” initially gave him the idea of trucking the Twin Springs produce to a larger city. In 1980 the partners started loading trucks and driving their products to farm markets around the Washington DC area. Today, almost all of Twin Spring’s profits come from sales at dozens of markets around Washington. Twin Springs stopped selling its products locally on the retail market in 1986, although it does wholesale to local buyers. According to King, the business began by selling apples and stone fruits, but over the years they started growing a wide variety of vegetables and now fruit makes up only about one-third of the business. The vegetables are grown (either in soil or hydroponically) and stored in a dozen or so different buildings on the property, each controlled to be a specific environment and temperature. In mid-September, one greenhouse contained about 3,000 tomato plants, which will provide tomatoes for sale until Christmas. In another, 20-foot long cucumber vines sprouted thousands of small, perfectly-shaped fruits. And in another were lettuces of all types waiting to be harvested. Twin Springs keeps adding products. New this year are figs, which pose a special challenge because the tender trees must be protected from winter frost by large row covers. Twin Springs grows much more food than it can sell, and chooses the very best of the crop to transport to market. “Because some of our product is going into wholesale we can be more selective in what we sell for retail,” said King. King said growing so many different products takes some of the worry out of farming. “We’re spread out enough that the weather doesn’t cause us much anxiety,” he said. More worrisome is “getting stuff done in time. And there is always loans and meeting payroll.” “I work seven days a week and I enjoy all aspects of the job,” said King. “I still love going to markets; they are my favorite part.” Like what you’re reading? Please support us by signing up here for our newsletter to get stories like this (and much more!) delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday. Because there are so many greenhouses that must be heated in the winter, Twin Springs has installed a state-of-the art biomass heating system. A huge warehouse is heaped to the top in the fall with shredded wooden shipping pallets brought in on semi-trailers. Over the winter, the wood chips are slowly fed via conveyor into a huge stove where they are burned. The resulting heat is piped to the individual greenhouses and buildings. “It’s a carbon-neutral solution,” said King. “The pallets burn well because they are so dry.” The system was installed in part with funds from a Federal grant. Farmers from around the region come to see the project in action as part of an educational outreach program. Twin Springs completed a major new construction this year. The large climate-controlled distribution center, still affectionately known to employees as “the stand,” is located on Hilltop Road off Route 30. The building has bays for six delivery trucks, and every Saturday and Sunday morning before dawn they are loaded with tons of produce before they head to their markets in Washington. The drivers are prepared for a long day on the road and lots of interaction with customers.

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