Kettering Corner in Annville to close
ANNVILLE - For the past six years, customers at Kettering Corner have been greeted by owner Darby Galebach's smiling face when they entered the cozy ice cream parlor.
Galebach has run the shop, housed in a former sporting-goods store at 104 W. Main St., since taking it over in March 2007. In that time, the shop has become a popular hangout for young and old alike - a place for older generations to catch up with old friends over a cup of coffee and a place for kids to celebrate little-league victories with an ice cream cone.
But unless a new owner comes along, Galebach will close up shop on Feb. 23.
Running the shop has become too much work since her husband, Clair "Stoney" Galebach, passed away on Jan. 6, Galebach said.
"Things are just a little tough for me," she said. "He did a lot of my running for me - picked up things that I needed. I just lost my energy, basically."
Galebach, a North Cornwall Township resident, said she thoroughly enjoyed working at the shop. In particular, she said, she enjoyed the people who came in.
"I enjoyed the kids coming in and seeing smiles on their faces, and I enjoyed when different baseball teams would come in," she said. "I just liked to see a smile on everyone's face."
Some of her loyal customers have been taking the news of the shop's closing very hard, Galebach said.
Among them is Susan Duskin of North Lebanon Township, who said she stops at Kettering Corner nearly every day on her way home from work in Hershey.
"It's halfway between, and I stop for coffee, and sometimes I'll eat lunch," Duskin said Tuesday afternoon while drinking coffee and reading a newspaper.
Duskin said she was very saddened to hear that the shop is closing, especially because she and Galebach have become good friends over the past several years.
"What's nice about this place is anybody that comes in here, if there's someone else in here, they all start talking to each other," she said. "You get to know a lot of people. Even people who might have different politics, you tolerate each other's views."
Fran Brandt of Annville said she, too, is sad that the shop is closing. Brandt said she often brings her five grandchildren there for ice cream and snacks.
"It's where everyone comes for hotdogs, ice cream, something to eat," Brandt said. "It's really a nice place to be. The grandkids love it here."
The shop is a great hangout for the community, and it's décor makes one feel like they're taking a step back in time, Brandt said. And Galebach always makes customers feel welcome, she said.
"She's like family," Brandt said. "To see her go, it's like family leaving. It's really sad."
The shop's previous owners bought the property from Paul H. Kettering, who had sold bicycles, guns and fishing supplies there for more than six decades. Much of the building's exterior façade remains the same, including the sporting goods store's sign and a roof that extends over the sidewalk out front where gas pumps once stood.
The sidewalk in front of the store was extended in 2004 as part of a streetscape project, and a large planter and a clock were added. During nice weather, people can often be found sitting at tables outside the shop, eating ice cream, sipping on coffee, reading or just soaking up the sun.
There is a chance Kettering Corner will live on after Galebach's departure. She said several people are interested in taking over the business, and most of them want to keep it as is.
"I'm hoping it does continue," she said. "I'm wishing the best for whoever does it, and I hope they enjoy it as much as I did."
After she closes the shop, Galebach said she intends to stay in the area for the time being, but she's not certain what the future holds.