Moonshine and corn whisky distillery opens store in Lancaster County

Chicken Hill Distillery, based in Pennsylvania, has opened a store at Tanger Outlets Lancaster in East Lampeter Township.

Joining the strip mall’s growing roster of quick-service eateries and specialty shops, Chicken Hill Distillery is situated in a 2,500-square-foot storefront next to Levi’s.

It offers an extensive selection of corn whiskey products and the brand’s specialty, legal moonshine. Guests aged 21 and up can sample dozens of different liquor varieties, while all ages can browse the store’s branded merchandise, drink mixes and signature spices.

Established in 2017, the distillery also has locations in Kersey (main distillery, which is in Elk County); Clarington; Gettysburg; Ligonier; and Benezette (rut and bugle distillery).

According to its website, Chicken Hill is the first distillery in Elk County specializing in legal moonshine.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Kendig Square shopping center sells for $24.55M

A York-based real estate partnership has paid $24.55 million for Lancaster County’s Kendig Square.

The nearly 269,000-square-foot West Lampeter Township shopping center was purchased by Triple BAR Kendig Square LLC, according to a deed filed Oct. 7.

Triple BAR Group is a partnership of J.C. BAR Properties, Triple Crown Corp. and Weathervane Capital Partners. In central Pennsylvania, J.C. BAR’s portfolio also includes Waynesboro Shopping Center; Hampden Marketplace, Enola; Blue Ridge Village, Harrisburg; and York Marketplace.

The acquisition was announced by J.C. BAR in a LinkedIn post.

Kendig Square is anchored by Weis Markets and includes nationally recognized tenants, with a single vacancy of approximately 8,800 square feet remaining, the post said.

On Willow Street Pike (Route 272), the retail center “is located within a fast-growing market of residential, retail and warehouse distribution, making it the ideal location for any use,” a Bennett Williams Commercial listing brochure said. In addition to Weis, tenants include Ocean State Job Lot, which recently moved into half of a former Kmart; Rite Aid; Dollar Tree; Pet Supplies Plus; Planet Fitness and others.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Donut shop to open in Hanover, two clothing stores in York close

A new doughnut shop is coming to Hanover while two clothing stores are shutting their doors in downtown York.

Amy R. Lovisone said in an email that she hopes to open Decked Out Donuts in December at 1185 High St., Hanover, if permits and construction go as planned.

In an earlier Facebook post, she said, “This is something we have dreamed about for years and are blessed to now have the opportunity to turn that dream into a reality.”

Lovisone said in her email, “We will be making mainly yeast raised donuts, but will also have old-fashioned donuts, cake donuts and a variety of … cookies, brownies, blondies and cinnamon rolls, all made fresh, very early every morning! We will also be offering different varieties of gluten-free, vegan and sugar-free goodies, too.”

Also, in York city, The Boutique at m.elene and Mason Lee, at 21 and 17 S. Beaver St., respectively, have closed.

Owner Molly Halbert announced the news on Facebook and said that the original m.elene store at 22 S. Beaver St. “will now offer new and vintage goods, while continuing to share its beautiful building and courtyard for events and community engagement.”

Halbert said in the post that she wants to devote more time to her children. “I will continue to be an active supporter of our incredible community, striving to further grow and develop the City of York. … I am beyond grateful for those who have supported me in making this very difficult decision. I am a small business owner, a teacher and, most importantly, a mother. Thank you to everyone for making this chapter in our story so very special. I am looking forward to seeing what our next chapter has to offer.”

In more York County business news, children’s resale clothing franchise Kid to Kid opened a store Sept. 29 at West Manchester Town Center, along with Uptown Cheapskate, its sister store for teens and young adults.

This is Kid to Kid’s second York location. The first is at 180 Leader Heights Road.

The Kid to Kid website said that one item of clothing returned to the circular economy reduces its carbon footprint by 82%.

Since its founding in 1992, the franchise has expanded to nearly 100 locations in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Nearly 80 stores offer promotions in Lancaster City Indie Retail Week

Aug. 19 kicks off Lancaster City Indie Retail Week, with 78 stores participating. 

The fourth annual event, which runs through Aug. 27, “encourages consumers to shop local and celebrate indie retailers, creating more sustainable cities, towns and communities,” according to its Facebook page. 

During the week, each store will offer a special promotion for shoppers. Examples include a gift with purchase; a discount; or an in-store happening. 

The website lancindieretail.comhas a list of participating stores – broken into categories clothing and accessories, gallery/arts, home and interiors, salon and spa, specialty, and vintage and accessories – and their Indie Retail Week promotions. 

Stores will follow their regular business hours but are encouraged to stay open later. 

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer 


Ollie’s collects $580,000 to help 114 food banks

Harrisburg-based Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Inc. announced Tuesday that it raised more than $580,000 to benefit 114 Feeding America member food banks in the communities Ollie’s serves.

The money was donated through an in-store fundraising campaign the closeout retailer conducted from April 10 to May 7 at 438 participating stores.

“With inflation at an all-time high, we are proud to be continuing our partnership with Feeding America for a third year to help the communities we serve provide food for their families,” John Swygert, Ollie’s president and CEO, said in a release. “With the help of our generous customers, we are able to support thousands of people in need across the 29 states we operate our business.”

“More than 38 million people, including 12 million children, experience hunger in the U.S.,” added Lauren Biedron, vice president of corporate partnerships at Feeding America. “Communities across the country are feeling the impact of rising food prices and many neighbors are turning to their local food banks for assistance. Feeding America is grateful to provide even more meals to neighbors in need thanks to our partnership with Ollie’s.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer.

Victorian-era Harrisburg property to be converted to apartments 

A late Victorian-era property in Harrisburg formerly housed women’s fashion boutique The Plum. PHOTO/PROVIDED

A 122-year-old Harrisburg building that formerly housed The Plum, a women’s fashion boutique, has been sold and will be converted into three two-bedroom apartments. 

Harristown Enterprises Inc. is the buyer of the 3,300-square-foot, red brick, late Victorian-era property at 213 Locust St. Dan Alderman, of Lemoyne-based NAI CIR, handled the transaction, according to a release. 

Work on the project is expected to be completed in the fall. The Plum, which operated at the Locust Street location since 1967, maintains a storefront on the West Shore, in Camp Hill. 

“We are delighted to preserve this amazing building, which was built in 1900, and renovate it into three unique and desirable apartments in the heart of downtown,” Brad Jones, Harristown’s president and CEO, told TheBurg. He is collaborating on the conversion with construction partner Don Mowery. 

“Because this was the home of The Plum for more than half a century, purchasing and renovating this building has special meaning,” Jones added. 

“We are happy to see that the building will be preserved,” Isaac Mishkin, who runs The Plum with his daughter, Kirsten, told TheBurg. “Having served on the Harristown board of directors for many years, it pleases me to know that they will take care of this historic structure.” 

The Plum’s roots date back about nine decades, to when Isaac’s father, Moe, arrived in Harrisburg to open a millinery on Market Street. 

Rite Aid to close 63 stores, expects further closures in the future 


Rite Aid plans to shutter 63 of its stores as part of the first phase of a new store closure program, the Camp Hill-based pharmacy chain announced in its third quarter results for 2021. 

The stores chosen for closure have yet to be named. The closures are expected to provide the company with an annual EBITDA benefit of $25 million. 

“Today, we also announced the first phase of a store closure program to reduce costs, drive improved profitability and ensure that we have a healthy foundation to grow from, with the right stores in the right locations, for the communities we serve and for our business,” said Heyward Donigan, president and CEO of Rite Aid. 

Rite Aid expects to increase the number of store closures in the coming months as it continues to review its 2,488 retail pharmacy locations across 17 states. Employees impacted by the closures will be able to transfer to other stores. 

In its third quarter results, Rite Aid reported $6.23 billion in revenues from continuing operations during the 13-week period ending Nov. 27—an increase from $6.12 billion during the same period last year. 

The pharmacy chain noted in its report that the 1.8% increase was driven by growth within its retail pharmacy segment, partially offset by a decline in its pharmacy services segment. 

The company reported a net loss from continuing operations of $36.1 million this quarter, a jump of 739% over the $4.3 million in the third quarter of 2020.  

“The increase in net loss is due primarily to higher facility exit and impairment charges driven by the company’s store closure decisions,” Rite Aid wrote in its report. “Other variance drivers include a LIFO charge in the current quarter compared to a Last in, First Out (LIFO) credit in the prior year third quarter and a lower gain on the sale of assets. These items were partially offset by an increase in adjusted EBITDA and lower depreciation and amortization expense.” 

Rite Aid announced in September that it will move its headquarters to Philadelphia early next year as it shifts to a focus on remote work. 

As part of the move, Rite Aid plans to open “regional collaboration centers” across the country that will allow its teams to work together when needed. Rite Aid hasn’t announced where these hubs will be located but has confirmed that one will be in the midstate. 

Giant opens e-commerce fulfillment center in Philadelphia  

The Giant Company’s new Giant Direct E-commerce Fulfillment Center opened in Philadelphia this week. PHOTO/PROVIDED

The Giant Company’s new Giant Direct E-commerce Fulfillment Center opened in Philadelphia this week, allowing the super market chain to serve more customers in Philadelphia and begin serving customers for the first time in southern New Jersey. 

The 124,000-square-foot facility works hand-in-hand with Giant Direct, the company’s online grocery store. The facility stocks more than 22,000 products that can be ordered online, bagged by a team of Giant employees and robots and shipped to homes. 

The fulfillment center has more than 125 employees, which is expected to double during the holiday season, according to a company statement Monday. It is part of a growth strategy for Giant that has seen it go from one Philadelphia location in 2018 to 10 by the end of 2023. 

“Starting with the introduction of our GIANT Heirloom Market format in 2019 followed by the opening of our Philadelphia flagship Riverwalk GIANT in March and three more new stores across the city still to come this year, The GIANT Company has been laser-focused on how we can best serve Philadelphia families,” said Nicholas Bertram, Giant Company president. 

Along with expanding its Giant Direct services throughout Philadelphia, the new facility allows Giant Direct to service a number of New Jersey towns including Camden, Cherry Hill, Gibbsboro and Haddonfield. 

Giant introduced its Giant Direct brand in Feb. 2019 with the opening of its first e-commerce hub in Lancaster. The grocer now has over 150 pickup locations with 90% of customers across its footprint having access to online grocery ordering. 

Local partnership purchases Springettsbury Township retail shopping center

Giant at York Marketplace. PHOTO PROVIDED

A Springettsbury Township, York County retail shopping center was recently acquired by Triple BAR Group, a partnership made up of two midstate real estate firms and a Key Largo-based private equity real estate firm.

Triple BAR Group announced last week that it acquired York Marketplace, a 305,000-square-foot shopping center featuring anchor stores such as Giant, Lowe’s and Red Lobster.

The group consists of York-based J.C. BAR Properties, Harrisburg-based Triple Crown Corp. and Key Largo, Florida-based Weathervane Capital Partners.

York Marketplace is located at 2501 E. Market St. at a strategic location with significant frontage along East Market Street, the Triple BAR wrote in a press release.

“The 20-minute drive time demographic shows an impressive 229,084 people with household incomes of more than $79,555 and daytime employment demographics equally as strong with 125,057,” the group wrote.

A majority of the center’s square footage is currently in use, but 3,060 square feet is expected to become available sometime in 2021.
The center was purchased by Chicago-based ShopCore Properties at an undisclosed sale price.

Has the demand in liquor licenses peaked?

Demand for beer and wine licenses in Lancaster and York may be slowing. If so, license prices may drop.

The cost of a restaurant liquor license in York and Lancaster counties may fall from the heights they reached in recent years, partially because fewer grocers stores are looking to buy them.

Last month, Larry Heim, an attorney with Lancaster-based law firm Barley Snyder, offered a series of restaurant liquor licenses available for purchase to clients, and they declined. For years his corporate clients in the super market industry have quickly purchased available liquor licenses so they could sell wine and beer from their stores. December marked the first time since the state allowed grocers to purchase a liquor license that Heim didn’t see interest from his clients in either York or Lancaster.

“I had some licenses available and ran it by the usual suspects to see if they were interested and they weren’t,” he said. “It’s the lack of interest that surprised me and I know a couple of those players stated through their council that for York County they had filled all of the spaces where they wanted licenses.”

In June of 2016, Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 39 of 2016 into law, which allowed the sale of beer and wine by grocery and convenience stores. For the last three years, convenience stores and grocers have been some of the state’s biggest buyers of restaurant liquor licenses, either through public auction or private sale.

Fall of 2016 was the first time that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board opened public bidding for the available restaurant liquor licenses in the state. During the bidding process, 41 businesses put their names into consideration, with bid amounts going as high as $526,000 by Giant Food Stores LLC for one of its stores in Montgomery County.

“If you take a look at the winning bidders, a number of them were grocery store chains and convenience store chains,” said Shawn Kelly, spokesman for the state Liquor Control Board. “We are still seeing bids in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range.”

Because of the high rates that the liquor licenses have been going for as companies look for liquor licenses for each of their stores, smaller restaurants, particularly in more populated counties, haven’t had the resources to compete.

If fewer large entities are buying licenses, as Heim’s experience last month suggests, the costs could decline.

“The appetite will eventually be satiated and we may be at that point,” Heim said.

Competing on a $500,000 bid is a high ask for local restaurateurs, but the lower the cost for one of Pennsylvania’s restaurant liquor licenses, the more likely it could be that more bank’s become interested in financing for a restaurant’s liquor license.

Restaurant lending is itself a niche business and financing liquor licenses is uncommon, said Eric Williams, senior vice president and chief lending officer of Ephrata Bank.

“You have to understand all of the legalities and considerations if you will take a security interest in a liquor license,” he said. “With restaurant lending, generally it’s not something we are comfortable with. There is a lot of volatility there.”

Heim recommends his clients wait to see what the market does before selling their licenses at a reduced price, noting that December could just have been a slow month. He also noted that he is still seeing high sales figures in Dauphin County, showing that there is still plenty of demand for the licenses elsewhere.