Melissa Grove of Sweet Melissa s Dream got some help from York Wallcoverings to brighten her store windows along Beaver Street.
Melissa Grove of Sweet Melissa s Dream got some help from York Wallcoverings to brighten her store windows along Beaver Street. (Bil Bowden photo)

Business is booming on Beaver Street.

The artistic corridor anchored by Central Market has become a popular spot for shoppers interested in custom designs and unique retail.

As the downtown community has worked to revitalize York, there are signs on Beaver Street that city businesses are coming back to life: Shops are expanding, profits are increasing, hours are extended, and store managers are no longer reliant on Central Market traffic to stay in the black.

Though the days Central Market is open -- Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays -- are among the busiest they see, many shop owners say their greatest lifeblood is repeat customers.

First Fridays are also a huge draw. The event in York City attracts a large crowd, as stores, restaurants, galleries and pubs offer extended hours and specials from 5 to 9 p.m. on the First Friday of every month.

It gets pretty crowded in Sweet Melissa's Dream, said owner Melissa Grove.

"Business really took off when we started selling women's clothes," she said of the shop at 51 N. Beaver St.

Larger quarters: Business is going so well that she's moving her store to a much larger spot across the street.

When Sweet Melissa's Dream relocates, Kimman's is expanding into the space.

Caroline Morris, who has owned the specialty shop at 57 N. Beaver St. for nine years, said her business has had double-digit increases in sales every year.

'Definitely an increase': Karen Staub, owner of The Watchmaker's Daughter, has also noticed an uptick.

"The business has been here since 1945. I've been here 15 years. There's definitely an increase," she said of sales at the shop located at 22 N. Beaver St.

More customers are also walking through the door at Sunrise Soap Co. at 29 N. Beaver St., according to owner Chris Clarke.

"We just finished two 50-person bus tours," she said in her shop on Thursday afternoon.

Camera Center of York, a business on Beaver Street for more than three decades, has witnessed many changes.

"There's definitely a major increase in foot traffic," said co-owner Bill Fabbri. "Beaver Street has a lot more to offer now with all these little shops, and people are starting to realize it."

It's not just Central Market days that draw people downtown. The Judicial Center, White Rose Bar & Grill, Mudhook Brewing Co. and Holy Hound Taproom also attract a crowd, he said.

"It's still busier on market days, but it stays really busy on other days too," he said.

Expanded hours: Even the businesses that have only been on Beaver Street for a couple of years have noticed growth.

Park Street Pantry, 24 N. Beaver St., used to be open only on Central Market days, but now it's open Tuesday through Saturday.

"We have regular customers, and it's the regulars you rely on," said co-owner Beth Bulik.

The store is also adding online sales, she said.

"People want to go where they can get something they can't get anywhere else," she said.

Many of the items sold in Arthur & Daughters at 49 N. Beaver St. are exclusive to the store. The boutique, owned by Hilary Arthur, carries a mix of high-end couture and handmade pieces by emerging designers.

Strong sales have allowed her to include three new lines this fall, and she also buys designs locally from The Bee -- a group of seamstresses in York who recycle materials into new designs.

The store owner attributed successful sales to establishing a strong website and social media presence before opening the store.

"When you have an independent store, you really have to build those relationships," Arthur said.

Success on Beaver Street has spilled onto West Philadelphia Street.

Just Cupcakes co-owner Christine Martin has noticed a boost between Central Market and the Beaver Street shops.

The cupcake shop started inside Central Market four years ago and has grown each year.

"Staying optimistic helps. That and having the best location in the world," Martin said.

-- Reach Candy Wooodall at

Moves on Beaver and West Philadelphia streets

Just Cupcakes moved this month from 9 W. Philadelphia St. to 44 W. Philadelphia St. and is opening a second location in Lancaster next month.

Sweet Melissa's Dream is moving Friday from 51 N. Beaver St. to 38 N. Beaver St.

Kimman's is expanding Friday from 57 N. Beaver St. into 51. N. Beaver St.