Tyler Graybeal expected business at his new candy store to start slow.
But the niche collection of Scandanavian confectionary at 356 N Queen St. has attracted a group of 100 regulars who come in every week to buy new varieties of his product, Graybeal said.
Despite opening Sweetish Candy just two months ago, he’s had customers who drove hundreds of miles to come to his store — and Swedish tourists and immigrants who express appreciation for his enterprise.
Graybeal’s nascent business is one of many that will be participating in Lancaster city’s inaugural Indie Retail Week, in which stores across the city will offer deals and specials beginning Monday.
Inspired by the success of the annual Lancaster restaurant week, Indie Retail Week will shine a spotlight on the amazing world of independent businesses in Lancaster City, said Marty Hulse, the event’s organizer.
More than 70 shops across the city are participating in the event. They range from older retailers like Miesse Candies, which has operated since 1875, to newer ones like Lancaster Nutrition, which opened in June.
Nearly 30,000 people work in retail in Lancaster County, according to the PA Department of Labor and Industry. The average local wage in the sector is just over $28,000.
Hulse owns Madcap & Co., a gift specialty store, and BUiLDiNG CHARACTER, a co-op and incubator for small retail businesses. Having operated in the 300 block of Queen St. since 2007, he has seen a lot of business turnover, he said.
“A business in infancy, it’s always uncertain. You have to be willing to adapt,” he said.
The building of the Marriott Hotel and Convention Center near Penn Square and revitalization of downtown Lancaster has helped more businesses be successful, Hulse said,
“It certainly helped to create the buzz that Lancaster is the place to hang out and visit,” he said.
Graybeal is afraid that much of the traffic Sweetish receives is seasonal, and that once the newness of his store wears off, people will not come as frequently, he said.
Collaboration the block’s retailers is important, he said, and the store has already co-hosted events with other retailers to spread awareness of their brand. During Indie Retail week, the store will offer a buy-two-pounds-get-one-free special on pick-n-mix candy.
More info on the week’s deals can be found at http://lancindieretail.com/.