Kaletta's takes prime spot in downtown York

Selga Fasion Designer Kathy Frey, left, of Lancaster, makes wardrobe adjustments for live model Susan Lingenfelter, of York Township, during the grand opening of Kaletta's at 57 N. Beaver St., on April First Friday in York City, Friday, April 6, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

When Jacqueline Bortner decided to open a boutique shop at the corner of Philadelphia and North Beaver streets, she knew she had big shoes to fill.

The spot was formerly home to Kimman's Co. — one of the first boutiques in the Market District when it opened in 2004, according to Downtown Inc president and CEO Silas Chamberlin — and it showed the area had high demand on the corner.

Now the Beaver Street corridor has dozens of businesses in York's booming downtown, Chamberlin said, and Bortner hopes her shop will be a worthy contender.

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Kaletta's — named after Bortner's grandmother, who enjoyed fashion, home decor, gardening, sewing, cooking, knitting and crocheting — opened Friday, April 6, offering home décor, baby items and accessories and trendy and classic fashions influenced by travel.

"I personally enjoy pulling something out of my suitcase ready to wear, casual but adding a layer and having an elegant look," said Bortner, who was a flight attendant with American Airlines for 20 years.

She also plans to feature some international styles, which will change throughout the seasons. A fall line will have more of a European look, she said.

Additionally, Kaletta's will be the only store in York City to carry Lancaster designer Kathy Frey's Selga clothing line. Frey was on hand at the opening on First Friday to talk about the looks, which were featured on live models.

Jannese Wood, right, makes wardrobe adjustments to the Selga line of clothing worn by live models Kate Gaenzle, left, and Susan Lingenfelter, both of York Township, during the grand opening of Kaletta's at 57 N. Beaver St., on April First Friday in York City, Friday, April 6, 2018. The Selga spring and summer line of clothing, designed by Kathy Frey, of Lancaster is available in York, exclusively at Kaletta's. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Giving back: For Bortner, giving back to the community is another important part of her business, so she likes to sell products that help better the lives of others, she said.

Kaletta's stationery section has  Jumping Cracker Beans cards, which are handmade by Goodwill, a nonprofit employer of disadvantaged and disabled people, and Good Paper, which supports women who were victims of sex trafficking.

In addition, the shop will have decor from Acacia Creations — owned by a woman raised in the York area and now living in Kenya, who hires locals to make jewelry and weave baskets. 

As a way to give back to the growing arts community, Kaletta's will carry local art from different artists every three months — currently York City artist Kathy Platta, who specializes in watercolors.

Bortner hopes to expand ways in which the store gives back to the community as the business evolves.

York's renaissance: As a small business owner, Bortner is excited to be coming to York when the city is experiencing a renaissance.

Chamberlin said within the last three years, about 130 businesses opened in the city, along with about 300 residences.

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He said the number of visitors coming to the city also has  increased significantly, with about 10,000 attending last year's monthly First Friday celebrations, which have grown for the past three to four years.

A place to belong: And with so many people spending time in the city and calling it their home, Bortner wants to give them a sense of belonging.

One of the reasons she loves shopping small is the personal touch.

"When customers come into Kaletta’s, we will know your name and suggest a gift perfect for any occasion," she stated in a news release. "That’s the connection that people shopping downtown want today.”

"We had decades of people leaving," Chamberlin said. "Anytime you have a growing number of residents, it starts to change the nature of downtown."

Now the city has retired people moving back in who want a walkable lifestyle and younger people attracted to the city by new companies, jobs, and attractions such as the rail trail and downtown shopping, he said.

It starts to create a sense of vitality and community that was missing before, he said, and in the business community there's also a greater sense of working together — restaurants buying from businesses downtown and retailers working together through merchant associations for a collective interest.

Bortner also loves supporting other businesses downtown — going to Central Market a few days a week, buying local clothing and tasting the area's food.

"I'm just excited to be part of the heartbeat of our downtown community," she said, adding that a lot of business owners had  reached out to her with guidance and asked what she needed.

"I don't look at myself as one person on the street," she said, emphasizing the collective effort to impact the community. "We all want a place to belong, and if we have a strong community, we're all in a better place."

Kaletta’s, located at 57 N. Beaver St., is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Hours are extended to 9 p.m. on First Fridays. 

For more information, visit kalettas.com.