A decades-old photo shows a diaper-wearing Julie Strickland wrapped in her father Tony’s arms in the family’s Baltimore Street, Gettysburg souvenir store with a rack of t-shirts behind them.
Strickland Enterprises has grown into several stores since then, but their flagship Blue and Gray Gift Shop at 531 Baltimore Street remained the business’ headquarters until a car slammed into it on March 1, 2021. The vehicle exploded, the driver died, and the store burned to the ground.
The Strickland family forged ahead with plans to rebuild, but high costs recently forced a difficult decision. A large Sites Realty sign now sits on the 0.10-acre lot at the southern entrance to Gettysburg Borough. The property is listed for $195,000.
“All three initial bids came in over $800,000,” Tony said. “It’s incredibly expensive, we never saw that coming.”
Julie attributes the high cost to inflation and the borough’s Historical Architectural Review Board regulations.
“They want certain windows, they want a certain roof, they want these things that are extremely expensive,” Julie said. “It’s actually harmful when you want someone to rebuild and you make it cost-prohibitive for someone to do that.”
Julie said the sale includes the plans for a new building that have been conditionally approved by the Borough of Gettysburg.
The Stricklands operate two stores on Steinwehr Avenue and one at The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg. They also have a strong online market, www.civilwarstuff.com, which is run out of their screenprinting business on Hanover Street. One less store to manage will give 71-year-old Tony more time to golf and travel while not feeling like he is pushing too much work off on Julie. Julie can do much of her work remotely, which is convenient but also has disadvantages.
“I always liked having my office above a store so I could have my finger on it,” Julie said. “I really miss that aspect.”
Alex J. Hayes, Editor, has spent almost two decades in the Adams County news business. He is heavily involved in the community through his volunteer roles at the Rotary Club of Gettysburg, Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church, United Way of Adams County, and Healthy Adams County. Alex is also a freelance writer for several other publications in South Central Pennsylvania.
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