Turning the corner for two downtown York businesses

Two downtown York woman-owned businesses are on the move.

After 20 years in the city, Sweet Melissa’s Dream is closing up shop at the end of the month. My Girlfriend’s Wardrobe Consignment Store, at 41 W. Market St., is moving into the space Sweet Melissa is leaving behind at 38 N. Beaver St.

Though the doors to the physical building will be closing at Sweet Melissa’s, owner Melissa Grove says the business itself isn’t disappearing. The decision to close, she said, had nothing to do with poor sales, but rather a desire for change.

“Sometimes you give up good things for something better,” she said.

And though the decision was an emotional one, she knows she’s heading in the right direction.

“I think this will be more of business on my own terms,” Grove said, acknowledging that she would be entering into an element of the unknown. “It’s a little scary entering into a little bit of I-don’t-know-what, but I know my talents and skills. I know good things are around the corner for me.”

Sweet Melissa’s, known in recent years for its artwork, jewelry, clothing and chocolate, started as an herb and aromatherapy shop in Central Market. Over the past two decades, Grove moved her business to several shops in downtown York, landing most recently in 2005 on North Beaver Street. Sweet Melissa’s will be available for online purchases and at festivals. Grove will continue to design and make clothing as well as chocolate for purchase. She also plans on teaching some yoga classes at Firefly Hollow in York Township.

Since announcing she wouldn’t be a staple in the North Beaver Street lineup, Grove said she’s been trying to catch her breath.

“Who would have thought closing a business is just as much work as opening a business?” she said.

April’s First Friday was especially beneficial as Grove said a good chunk of her inventory is gone. As a result, Sweet Melissa’s will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through its final closing day, April 21. If inventory is gone before the closing date, Grove invites patrons in for a dance party with chocolate.

Moving around the corner

Initially starting out as an online-only store in 2012, My Girlfriend’s Wardrobe moved to its 41 W. Market St. address in 2014 and has been there ever since. The business, owned by Alexandria Keener and her mother, Deborah, specializes in name-brand and high-end designer items, from Chanel to Ann Taylor Loft.

As avid consignment shoppers, Keener said she and her mother went into business hoping they could do things a little differently by authenticating designer goods and their quality. They also sought transparency as to what items the shop offers and what its looking for.

“We set out to do that, and here we are, five years later,” she said. “A big part of the consignment shop is the trust you have with your consignors.”

Though the new location is smaller than her current space – from 1900 square feet to 900 square feet – Keener said the exposure there will help grow her business and she will be expanding her social media presence. With the move to the new space, Keener will lose two clothing racks totaling about 160 pieces.

“Beaver Street is the hub of downtown York and I think that move alone is going to introduce us to some new customers who still aren’t quite turning the corner from Beaver to Market,” she said.

Two weeks until the move, My Girlfriend’s Wardrobe will not accept any items for consignment. The store is set to reopen in May. 

 

Emily Thurlow
​Emily Thurlow covers York County​ for the Central Penn Business Journal. Have a tip? Drop her a line at ethurlow@cpbj.com.

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