Like the succulents that grow in a shop on Main Street in Mount Joy, 9-year-old Nevaeh Hartman thrives as a young entrepreneur while she and her mother, Shelby Hilt, tend to one of the city’s newest businesses.
After a preview at Mount Joy’s Fall Fest in October, Succulents by ShelNe (a combination of their first names) had a grand opening in early November at 45 E. Main St., a location previously occupied by Time After Time and Ladybug Suds ‘N Scrubs, shops run by a husband and wife team who moved to a larger shop just down the road in September.
This mother-daughter duo will be greeting customers at their store on Small Business Saturday, November 26th. To commemorate the occasion, customers who spend $50 will get $5 off; It’s $10 off on a $100 purchase.
Children can also do handicrafts and win prizes. There will also be drawings for giveaways including a potted plant arrangement and gift baskets featuring items from other vendors who have merchandise in store.
The store also has a do-it-yourself mommy and me section where kids can pick and pot a plant.
“I’m going to focus my business heavily on getting your kids involved and stuff like that,” says Hilt.
ShelNe’s succulents started two years ago during the coronavirus pandemic. Hilt decided to quit her job as a special education teacher working with students at home. In addition to Nevaeh, Hilt and her husband have three younger children at home.
Hilt has always taken care of plants. With the help of Nevaeh, who was homeschooled during the pandemic, she began selling plants from her home through a Facebook group. Soon they had thousands of followers and lots of sales.
Hilt began buying plants from a wholesale grower in Lancaster County. Now the pair grow most of their own succulents in home greenhouses. Succulents have thick, fleshy leaves and stems. Hilt now owns the licenses for wholesalers and growers.
After attending local pop-up markets, Hilt met Main Street Mount Joy’s executive director, Dave Schell. Schell invited her to display plants in MSMJ’s window. Meanwhile, Rodney and Lisa Wilbert, who own the 45 E. Market premises, were in the process of moving to 67 E. Main St., where the Cypress & Myrtle gift shop was located. After hearing about the available space, Hilt decided within a week to rent from the Wilberts.
It’s been an exciting time for Nevaeh, a lively fourth grader at Doe Run Elementary School learning about economics and plants. She can easily describe how plants are propagated (starting another plant from a leaf). It was a change for her too.
“I think one of the hardest things I’ve had to do so far has been the store. Because at first I couldn’t imagine it,” says Nevaeh. But now she sees what to do.
Nevaeh helps with planting, potting and watering. (Hilt also has help from a Hempfield High School intern.) To earn extra money, the young woman paints rocks to sell and makes bags of seashells. And it was her idea to sell hand-printed waterproof stickers.
“She really has the business acumen,” says her mother.
Nevaeh also creates arrangements with air plants, often using seashells. Air plants, which don’t need dirt but need water and air, have become one of the store’s unique specialties, says Hilt.
The store carries items from other suppliers, including crocheted pieces like headbands and stuffed animals, handmade home decor, artwork, candles and soaps. And Nevaeh’s younger brother, Andy Hartman, has also expressed an interest in the business, selling candy in the store.
Also, the store’s former owners, the Wilberts, offer Black Friday and Small Business Saturday specials at Time After Time, a watch sales and repair shop run by Wilbert, and Ladybug Suds N’ Scrubs, the bath and Beauty products sold handmade by Lisa Wilbert including soaps, lotions and hair products. She also makes laundry detergent, a bestseller. Her shop also stocks Lancaster Wax Co. candles and other beauty products and gifts, like gnomes.
Ladybug is offering 10% off all purchases and giving away 2 ounce candles to the first 50 shoppers both days. Time After Time is giving a 15% discount on all watches on both days.
Next door at 65 E. Main St. is Moon Raven Alley, a metaphysical shop that deals with various spiritualities but focuses on connecting people to each other and to the earth, says Gina Alberty, co-owner of Collette Wagman.
The store has just added a small art gallery featuring local artists and their own art; At one end is a prayer altar. The shop specializes in healing stones, crystals and herbs. Other popular sellers are candles and incense sticks; The owners make some of their own incense sticks.
The store will be offering some special discounts on Small Business Saturday, Alberty says. Also during the holiday season, the shop will be selling its homemade chocolate truffles, which people have been asking for since the city’s Chocolate Walk, says Alberty. The truffles are flavored with herbs like lavender, rosemary and cayenne pepper.
Another retailer, A. Lane Living, sells poly outdoor furniture made from recycled plastic by an Amish manufacturer in Lancaster County. These can be seen outside on South Market and Main Streets, where the store has been located since August 2021. From Small Business Saturday through December, 10% will be deducted on new custom orders and 5% on stock items.
Two other Small Business Saturday Specials: Guitars on Main, 84 E. Main St., offers 15% off guitars. The Rise Bake Shoppe (formerly The Bake Shoppe at Country Table), 740 E. Main St., is offering buy one, get one cupcakes for free while supplies last.