Come with me as we take a scenic drive through the narrow Lancaster County country roads. We’ll leave Route 30 behind and head for North Star Road. Nestled quietly amidst the farmland is our destination - a beautifully remodeled horse barn. This 100-year-old barn is now the location of an exquisite country store called Country Creations.
Country Creations began in June of 1984 in the home of Ken and Shirley Groff. At its beginning, it was just a small one-room store in their home. At this time, most of the items for sale were made by the Groff family. It wasn’t long until the business had outgrown its small room. After three years, a move to the tobacco shed was a necessity. In 1995, the family no longer had a need to use the barn for horses, so the decision was made to remodel the barn to accommodate the ever-growing business. The old rustic look, along with the horse stalls still remain and accent its name – Country Creations.
From the store’s beginnings, the family has been participating in craft shows. Each year they spend a week in Atlanta at a show and they also go to Philadelphia for four other shows. Most of their work for the whole year is done in January. This is the month that they need to order all of their Christmas trees for the following Christmas.
When you come for a visit, please be sure that you have lots of time for browsing. The store is filled with many items for decorating your home all year long. As Lori Bennett, part-owner, manager, and daughter of Ken and Shirley said, you’ll find something you like even if your decorating taste isn’t country. As you browse the large expanse of the finished product, you’ll find candles, potpourri, gourmet foods, lighting, furniture, and fabric to name just a few. Among the numerous furniture pieces for sale, entertainment centers have been the most popular this year. Their furniture comes not only from local craftsmen but is also shipped in from out-of-state and Canadian businesses. Most of the furniture is made of pine and a large amount is upholstered as well.
This spring, a new product called a candle warmer, made its appearance at Country Creations. The candle warmer resembles a small crock pot and comes with various designs specific for the holidays or an everyday design that can be used all year long. This item became popular because of the many fires that break out in homes across the country from unattended candles. The problem with suit coating new paint from burning candles is another reason for the product’s demand.
The candle warmers come in two different sizes. The large size will hold the 26oz. McCall’s candles and the smaller size will secure the votive candle. The crock warms and melts the candle to send off the fragrance instead of using an open flame. One candle will give off its wonderful fragrance every day for 10-12 weeks. Lori found that the high-quality McCall’s jar candles will last the longest.
Country Creations shoppers are not just from Lancaster County and neither are they mostly tourists. Regular shoppers come to Pennsylvania for the weekend from Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, New York, and Connecticut. Country Creations keeps in touch with there customers through a mailing list as well as through their website.
As the business grew, so did the need for more employees. Today there are 14 employees running the sales counter and arranging and stocking the store with beautiful displays. Four of these employees are family members. Ken and Shirley Groff have been joined by their daughter Lori and her husband Kenn Bennett in managing the store.
In 1992, the decision was made to use Quickbooks for the store’s accounting needs. As the years went by, Lori found that this software was not adequate in allowing her to have the kind of inventory control that she desired. So, in 1999, Country Creations decided to implement the Eagle Business Management System Software (EMBS) which is offered through Esh Computer Center. EBMS was implemented at their point of sale counter and, of course, is used heavily for inventory purposes. It has been a great asset in enabling Lori to look up the history of each item that they sell. She is able to see where she last ordered the item from and how much she ordered. She can also look at the year tab to see how much was sold of a particular item for a given year. The month tabs are also important. She knows if she needs to order more heavily according to the sales from other years in any given month. Another asset is to have inventory reports readily at her fingertips. She may want to see how many seasonal items they have sold vs. how many everyday items.
Maybe Lori’s needs have sparked an interest in you since you have business accounting needs as well. If so, please call Esh Computer Center at (717) 442-1080 and ask for Jake Esh. He will be happy to meet with you for a free consultation to discuss how EBMS will enhance your bottom line.
Visit Country Creations online at CountryCreationsPA.com.