Walking down Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill, the Pennsylvania General Store fits comfortably alongside the local boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops.
Just six months ago, the store owned by Michael Holahan and his wife only had one location: Reading Terminal Market.
“In Chestnut Hill, it’s a little bit more of a neighborhood store, so you tend to see the same people day in and day out,” Holahan said. “Reading Terminal Market felt more like a neighborhood market 28 years ago. And I won’t say that that’s a good thing or a bad thing, it’s not a judgment … it’s just a reality.”
The Pennsylvania General Store has been in business for 28 years, but only recently began calling the Northwest home. With merchandise ranging from cookies to candies and gift baskets, it is not a surprise that customers already have their favorites.
“With a business like ours you’ll have people who will have their favorites, whether it’s a cookie or something else,” Holahan said.
Alma De Luna, who is a new employee in the Reading Terminal Market location, noticed the types of customers that frequent the her location.
“I would say most of it is tourists and the other percentage are regulars,” De Luna said. “You have the people who we know and we know what they order.”
One of the popular items at both locations are the “Hope’s Cookies.” The cookies come in a variety of flavors, including white chocolate macadamia nut and the triple chocolate.
“The cookies are common favorites from people, like the caramel pecan dipped, the chocolate chip and the Heath Bar cookies,” De Luna said.
The two locations remain different when it comes to the customer base.
“Reading Terminal Market is now more of a crossroads of visitors that come to the city, and while people do visit Chestnut Hill, it’s still more of a community shopping area,” Holahan said.
While Holahan is often found in the Chestnut Hill location and his wife at the Reading Terminal Market location, both stores provide a mix of customers.
“I think the interaction with people is the best part,” De Luna said. “Always meeting different people who can be funny and witty and who can come back at you is interesting.”
– Text and images by Paulina Jayne Isaac