A ‘Broader’ view of things

By on June 3, 2015

Building awareness of Broad Street retailers

by Laura Knowles

There’s Wilbur Chocolate and Sturgis Pretzel House and all the charming shops on East Main Street.

It’s no wonder that Lititz took top honors a few years ago as the “Coolest Small Town in America.” With all its pubs and boutiques and downtown events, Lititz is a vibrant small town with lots of activity.

“We just want to get people to come and check out Broad Street too,” says Autumn Whitcraft, who owns a. heather & co. at 101 N. Broad St. with her mother Lynn Hathy.ZZZEKnowles

Whitcraft and Bradley Eastman of E.I. Home at 201 N. Broad St. have spearheaded an awareness effort to get people to “turn the corner” from East Main to South Broad and North Broad, so they can see what they might be missing.

The first step has been a two-sided flyer that invites locals and tourists to “Discover Lititz on Broad.” On one side, they list all the shops, retailers and restaurants on South Broad; on the other side, the businesses on North Broad are listed.

They have also started a Facebook page at facebook.com/lititzonbroad.

“There is not an effort to divide the town in any way at all,” assures Eastman, who opened his decorating and home goods shop in the one-time Photographer’s Corner at Lincoln and Broad.

Broad Street retailers just want to make sure shoppers know they exist, so that they will take the extra steps to stop by their shops too.

At the newly expanded Olio Oils & Balsamics at 41 S. Broad St., Joe Desimone has found that networking works well for attracting shoppers to his foodie destination, with every olive oil or balsamic you can imagine. He has partnered with Zest! on East Main Street and The Savory Gourmet at 53 N. Broad St. to entice food-oriented shoppers to check out the downtown &tstr; the whole downtown &tstr; with its exotic meats and cheeses, seasonings and food products.

“It’s been working well,” Desimone says. “It’s important for all the retailers in Lititz to help each other out.”

Wayfinding signs in Lititz can help, but Broad Street retailers needed a little more. They are hoping the brochures, Facebook page and special events will boost awareness.

Kelly Withum of Venture Lititz thinks that one of the challenges is that Broad Street has several stretches where there are residences and businesses that are not retailers. She calls it the “Six Second Rule,” saying that if shoppers walk for more than six seconds without seeing a shop, they will turn back.

One of those stretches is on South Broad, where townhomes line several yards, until you reach Olio and Dosie Dough Bakery. For those who are not familiar with Lititz, they might not realize what awaits just a few yards away.

North Broad has several stretches that are a little shorter, but seemingly daunting to some shoppers, who don’t quite make it to a. heather or E.I. Home. It does take some extra effort, but shopkeepers want shoppers to carry on, get some exercise and discover what’s in their shops too.

At Lititz Framing & Fine Arts, George Sayles has an array of original art, prints, custom framing and photography reprints. Even though he’s right next door to Subway and not far from Wilbur Chocolate, he doesn’t see many people who buy candy or subs, then get a picture framed.

“We’re not the kind of place that gets casual foot traffic,” says Sayles. “Our customers tend to come here on purpose.”

Still, it’s not always easy. Broad Street is by nature &tstr; and name &tstr; a “Broad” street, much wider than East Main. It has a lot more truck traffic and intersections are a bit intimidating for pedestrians to cross. While East Main seems cozier and more intimate, Broad has a busy, wide open feel that isn’t quite as inviting.

When Lititz holds its 2nd Friday events and other downtown events, much of the action seems to be closer to the square and East Main Street. Many people might see Broad Street shops as they travel through town, but they don’t always stop.

“Lots of people tell me they happened to see something in the window that attracted them to come in,” says Whitcraft.

Until then, they didn’t realize it was no longer a hair salon and now has a selection of fashions, jewelry, home décor and art work. Who knew?

There are lots of interesting things that can be found at Broad Street shops, like vintage items at Affinity Antiques, home décor and gifts at Calkins Vine & Branches, watches and jewelry at Lititz Watch & Jewelry and antiques at Antiques & Stuff all on North Broad.

The Purple Turtle Consignment Boutique, Bruno’s hoagies, Greco’s Italian Ices & Ice Cream and Freeze & Frizz restaurant are set back a bit on North Broad, directly across from Wilbur Chocolate. Then there are food businesses like Tomato Pie Café, Wendi’s Cakes & Cupcakery and Pork & Wally’s restaurant.

“We would like to see more people venture from Wilbur’s Chocolate to check out other shops,” says Eastman.

It’s not that far.

To the south, Dosie Dough is a recognized hub of activity, where Amy Lloyd’s customers come for baked goods, sandwiches, coffee and the latest news. She has her regulars, and most of them consider Dosie Dough to be their destination.

Shoppers can also discover other South Broad shops like Shaub’s class apparel for men and women, Hearts & Wings Earth Boutique, Always New to You women’s consignment shop, Kitchens by Eileen, Ken’s Music Store and A.M. Jewelry across the street at Orange.

Todd Dickinson of Aaron’s Books has the best perspective on what it’s like to be on Broad Street and on East Main Street. His shop has been on both.

“We started off at 41 South Broad,” says Dickinson. “That was 10 years ago.”

It took a little while to get customers to check out the bookstore. But they did. After seven years, a space opened on East Main and Aaron’s made the move. At first customers thought he had closed. Others heralded the first bookstore in Lititz, even though “I had been in Lititz all along,” says Dickinson.

Now on East Main for three years, Dickinson thinks he gets more traffic just because he is located so close to other retail shops. It does help, he says.

With that experience, Dickinson thinks that all of Lititz’s shops can work together to attract shoppers. Customers often ask for suggestions on places to eat or where to buy certain things, and he is always happy to share ideas, whether it’s sending them to Olio for lemon balsamic or to Tomato Pie Café for their signature tomato pie.

“Lititz has a lot to offer and we just want people to turn the corner and walk a little further to see everything we have,” says Eastman.

Laurie Knowles Callanan, a veteran freelance writer, got her start in the newspaper business when she was hired as a general assignment reporter by former Record Express owner Bob Campbell. One of her first assignments was interviewing Lititz artist David Brumbach at Linden Hall.

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