How SCORE helped. 

Over the last four years, SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon mentor Jim Frey has watched the success and growth of clients Emily Moccero and Evan Young. Jim began mentoring the couple in 2017 when they had just opened Realm & Reason, a boutique located in the beautiful historic Beitel House building that Evan had recently acquired at 213 West King Street in downtown Lancaster. He is excited to see that the couple is evolving their business model to mirror their growth with a rebrand to Larkstone. 

Rebranding to Reflect a New Story

A business requires cohesive branding to establish its identity in a competitive world and tell the story of who it is and what it does. Recently Emily and Evan concluded that a rebrand was needed for their retail store to align with the direction that had evolved over the years. 

"Our original business model included the fashion retail, an event space, vintage items, an art gallery, and anything else we could manage to stay awake for.  Four years in, we are honing that down to the thing that works, curating a unique and cohesive retail experience in downtown Lancaster. We will continue to participate in art on a much more limited basis and some other limited events.

'Realm and Reason' is still a brand that we own and love. It's Emily's handmade jewelry brand. We initially thought that the store would facilitate the growth of the jewelry brand, so we gave it the same name. However, with time and experience, the store has taken on its own mission. Since the jewelry primarily sells online, it makes sense to separate the brands.  Separating the brands allows us to make both brand identities much stronger.

Larkstone's mission is to provide a store that is useful to the people who live here. We want downtown to be an even better place to live.  We stock new men and women's clothing, along with useful lifestyle accessories and fun gifts."

    - Emily Moccero and Evan Young, founders, and owners of Larkstone

"Rebranding Realm and Reason to Larkstone provides a more relevant and marketable name that aligns with Emily and Evan's objectives for their business' impact on the community.  Since the first day of the business, they have sought to have the store and its location positively impact the community and make Lancaster City a better and more vibrant place to live, work and visit.  They derived the business name by combining Lark (flight and freedom) and stone (solid and grounded). Others have also defined Larkstone to connote a creative space."         

      - Jim Frey, SCORE volunteer mentor

 

Score Mentor and Score Mentees

Meeting the Challenges of a Pandemic 

The impact of the COVID pandemic varied by industry, and so did the strategies for survival.  Retails sales online soared in 2020, with consumers in shutdown and heading online to buy groceries, home goods, clothing, and personal items. Emily & Evan were well-positioned to take advantage of this trend of consumer spending.

"Emily is an exceptionally talented jewelry designer, and her product sales have blossomed since the company's inception. In addition to in-store sales, her jewelry is available for sale on the Etsy, Shopify platforms, and Larkstone websites.  Evan and Emily also use Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to market the jewelry and drive sales.  All of this gave them a distinct lead when consumers turned to e-commerce during the shutdown."

     - Jim Frey, SCORE volunteer mentor

"It didn't seem like the retail store was going to do much during the pandemic, so we put it into a sort of defensive holding pattern and focused our efforts on places where we could make real progress. Emily's Realm and Reason jewelry brand was really taking off by the end of 2019, and that growth actually continued through all of 2020 with online sales. We own our building, so Evan spent most of his energy on property maintenance and redevelopment, including taking care of our commercial tenants. Among other projects, the I improvements completed in the spring of 2020 have been an important part of our mission to preserve our historic building."

     - Emily Moccero and Evan Young, founders, and owners of Larkstone

Evan and Emily received much-needed support to conserve their historic downtown Lancaster building in the form of a grant facilitated by the Lancaster City Alliance Neighborhood Façade Improvement Grant Program that helped transform the exterior of 213 W. King Street. The couple's improvements to their properties on the West King street corridor add to the quality of life for the entire neighborhood.

Picture of Realm and Reason

Walking Beside You – Even From A Distance

SCORE mentors walk beside their clients for the lives of their business. There are points in that business journey for every mentor when the clients soar, and the mentor observes from a distance. 

"Jim is our cheerleader. He really is. He's been a networking connector as well. We've called Jim a few times with questions regarding seemingly small minutia.  That's very helpful in and of itself. Jim was also very proactive about keeping us up to date on COVID relief programs during the pandemic. It is very clear to us that SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon adds strength and resiliency to our community." 

     - Emily Moccero and Evan Young, founders, and owners of Larkstone

Jim Frey keeps a keen eye on the developments that Evan & Emily make at 213 W. King Street. There may be less need for mentoring sessions, but he is always a phone call away. 

"Evan and Emily managed their business excellently through 2019 and have not needed mentoring sessions regularly. However, when the COVID pandemic began in 2020, I kept Evan informed and provided guidance for the Federal CARES Act, State of Pennsylvania, and Lancaster County and City COVID-related funding opportunities. In 2021, the same support was provided for the American Rescue Plan Act."

     - Jim Frey, SCORE volunteer mentor

Score Mentor with Score mentees

A Focus on the Future

The word that seems best to describe marketing plans for the remainder of 2021 and into a new year would be resilience. Small business owners like Emily & Evan have shown that they are capable of a remarkable degree of flexibility and swift adaptability to meet the challenges they encounter. 

"We decided that 2021 was going to be a growth year for the store, and it is indeed happening. The small business recovery grant has made a lot of our actions possible as we take this aggressive stance moving forward.

We should also acknowledge the value of Lancaster's culture as a resilient community. It's easier to be a problem solver when problem-solvers surround you." 

      - Emily Moccero and Evan Young, founders, and owners of Larkstone

SCORE Success Story: Larkstone