Downtown Carlisle retailers experience success despite hurdles

Stephanie Patterson Gilbert, left, owner of Georgie Lou’s Retro Candy & Gifts in Carlisle, boxes some designer chocolates for Susan Weaver of Mechanicsburg. The candy store opened its new location Dec. 12 after a two-month delay, Gilbert said.-(Jim T. Ryan)

You do pretty much everything as a small-business owner, and sometimes you find out even the things you thought should be easiest don’t go as planned.

That’s been the last two and a half months for Stephanie Patterson Gilbert, the owner of Georgie Lou’s Retro Candy & Gifts, as she endeavored to move her store from North Pitt Street to the busy corner of Pitt and High streets in Carlisle. After a more than two-month delay, Gilbert finally opened Georgie Lou’s at 56 W. High St. on Dec. 12.

It’s a bigger, high-visibility location that was designed for retail, she said. But that doesn’t mean it was easy movin’ up.

“Everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” Gilbert said recently, as she waited on the constant stream of customers browsing her store, buying candies or selecting designer chocolates from the display case.

The furniture that she ordered for customers to sit on was late. When the pieces did arrive, they were the wrong ones.

The walls and shelves had to be painted twice because of mistakes.

A soda cooler arrived late, then wouldn’t fit in the door.

A water leak caused damage to the new laminate flooring.

“I thought we were going to miss the Christmas season,” Gilbert said, “and that’s a big time for us.”

Gilbert wanted to open Georgie Lou’s by early October, but that didn’t happen. Devoted patrons kept her spirits up while they worked through the problems, she said.

“I’ve got great Facebook fans,” Gilbert said. “They love the store history and have been so supportive.”

Jim T. Ryan

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