Carol & Co. owners trying to sell the business

Pat Spellar and her daughters, Cathy Spellar and Rachel O'Connor, hope to pass the store on

January 14, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER |
  • Cathy Spellar, left, and Rachel O'Connor are selling Carol & Co. gift store in downtown Hagerstown. The two co-own the store with their mother, Pat Spellar.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

After 11 years at the helm of Carol & Co. in Hagerstown, the Spellar family is selling the business.

Owner Pat Spellar said she and her daughters, Cathy Spellar and Rachel O'Connor, who co-own the store with their mother, are hoping to pass the store on to new ownership.

"We have appreciated being Hagerstown's No.1 gift store for several years, however, it is time for all of us to pursue other directions in our lives," the family said in a statement.

Pat Spellar said she and her daughters bought the business from the Moller family about 11 years ago.

Under the Spellar family's ownership, much in the store at 25 W. Washington St. changed, she said.

Many new lines of merchandise were added, including Vera Bradley and an in-house printing service, she said. The business also expanded it's footprint into an adjacent space.

It was the personal touch, the right mix of products and investment the family put into the shop that led to its success, even in the past few difficult years, Pat Spellar said.

Her hope is that new ownership can be found that has the same passion for customer service and small business, she said.

"We hope it will be someone who cares about the business as much as we do," she said.

An announcement that the store was going up for sale was sent to the 2,000 customers on the store's mailing list and will also appear in today's Herald-Mail, she said.

The staff at Carol & Co. have been prepared to answer questions about the change, she said.

Answers to questions such as whether there will be a sale on merchandise, what will happen if there is no buyer, and what is next for the Spellar family were provided to the staff, she said.

As for what's next for the family, Pat Spellar said she is looking forward to retiring and spending more time with her husband and family.

O'Connor is looking forward to spending time with her children, and Cathy Spellar is hoping to travel and perhaps pursue additional education, according to statement by the family.

"We've enjoyed it," Pat Spellar said of the family's time owning the business. "There were some huge changes ... but we are ready for a bit of a break."

For now, the family has not planned a merchandise sale at the store, Pat Spellar said.

The goal is for it to transition to ownership without going out of business.  

The family is optimistic someone will purchase the store and continue it's legacy, the statement said.

While Pat Spellar said she and her daughters have not put a deadline on selling the business, their goal is to sell it as quickly as possible.

Pat Spellar said she consulted Hagerstown's Economic Development Director Debbie Everhart to see if the city had any incentives for an owner buying an existing business.

Pat Spellar said she was told that any public assistance was handled on a case-by-case basis.

Everhart did not return multiple calls from the Herald-Mail.

Regardless of public incentive, Pat Spellar said she is confident that the success and reputation of Carol & Co. will continue in Hagerstown.

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