Greencastle building being converted into an entrepreneurial center

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When she was little, Laura Wallace always loved going to Carl’s Drug Store in downtown Greencastle with her great-grandmother.

She’s come full circle, and now she and her husband, AJ, are beginning to renovate the 1916 building at 6 E. Baltimore St. that once housed the pharmacy. The top-to-bottom remodel aims to realize his vision of an entrepreneurial hub in his hometown.

Vision is a word that comes up often when talking to Wallace, the founder, CEO and creative director of Worx & Co, which specializes in helping small businesses build a brand.

“We work with small businesses in our community and across the country who are ready to evolve their brand experience to create a cohesive, modern and accessible look that reflects who they are and the mission they serve,” explains- she on the Worx & Co. website.

Wallace, also a business coach and host of The Gutsy Podcast, is looking forward to applying what she’s learned over the years to support small businesses and be part of the growth and evolution of downtown. Greencastle.

The community already has a lot to offer, but they would like to see more places to eat and a wider variety of places to shop to give people fun things to do “without leaving our zip code.”

How they got to 6 E. Baltimore St.

AJ Wallace and Laura Green were high school sweethearts. He graduated from Greencastle-Antrim High School in 2001, she followed in 2002 and they have been married for 21 years.

A graphic designer always interested in the stories behind the companies she worked with, Wallace quit her job to found Worx & Co when she was 6½ months pregnant with their son Candon, now 14 and an eighth-grade student at Greencastle. -College of Antrim.

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Worx & Co has grown from a small graphic design studio to a full branding studio. It not only offers physical assistance such as office space design, but also the enthusiasm and insight of Wallace, who calls herself an idea generator, motivator, and cheerleader who enjoys connecting with entrepreneurs.

Wallace ran Worx & Co from the family home near Greencastle for 9½ years before moving the business to Hagerstown. Eventually she said, “I really just wanted to go home.”

Wallace describes herself as very intuitive and willing to “follow whatever breadcrumbs life pulls me to.”

She was driving home one day, looked at 6 E. Baltimore St. and thought, “Hmm, I think that’s my building.”

The legacy of Carl's Drug Store, which was long located at 6 E. Baltimore St. in Greencastle, can still be seen as an advertisement painted on the bricks of what is now the Aura Building.

She contacted owner Jan Martin of the ELM department store and said she wanted to rent the third floor. When he said no, she asked that she and her family be able to watch the building anyway.

“My body lit up like a Christmas tree,” Wallace said, explaining that she had chills and knew exactly what she wanted to do with the building, which was not for sale.

A week later, she emailed Martin, saying “It would be an honor to purchase your building.”

She had shared her vision with Martin, who replied that he wanted it to happen, agreeing to sell the building he had owned for about two decades and used for several years for the womenswear part of his business. .

“The way has been cleared for us to get through this journey,” Wallace said. “It’s our building, part of our heritage.”

The name

“I knew I wanted to call it The Aura Building,” said Wallace, who uses LauraAura as her personal brand.

Continued:LauraAura

Early on, Wallace joined Business Networking International. She recounts how Karen Horejs of Greencastle, another member and local estate agent, told her, “You have an aura, an energy.

And Wallace thought, “I should do something with this someday.”

Her brand is inspiring, encouraging and spiritual and makes her feel like she can do anything. She also named the building for these attributes.

In the Aura building

Wallace’s office has been on the first floor of the building since June 2021 and she observes what is happening outside the large glass windows, one of which bears the words “LET YOUR AURA SHINE”.

A message on the front door reads “A SOON(ISH) TO BE ENTREPRENEURIAL HUB”.

The future of the Aura Building is etched on glass with the message 'A SOON(ISH) TO BE ENTREPRENEURIAL HUB' in downtown Greencastle.

There’s already been a taste of what’s to come with pop-up shops at Aura, a market for local artisans during Heritage Christmas in December 2021.

The incredible response and “mind-blowing foot traffic” is proof that the community is hungry for more and wants to support small businesses, according to Wallace. The synergy and collaboration between the artists brought him to tears.

“Entrepreneurship can be a lonely place. I think my mission is to create a community within a community for small business owners,” she said.

More pop-up shops are planned in conjunction with upcoming community events including 3rd Saturdays in the Square, Sidewalk Days, Old House Week and Heritage Christmas.

By next year, the plan is to have five small business retail spaces for rent on the first floor with a shared bathroom, utilities and internet.

Wallace envisions it as a way for small business owners to take baby steps while gaining experience and exposure.

If all goes well with the renovations, she will move into her office on the third floor by June. The Wallaces, with the help of their “hands-on family”, do some of the work themselves while partnering with as many local small businesses as possible.

The third floor of the Aura Building, with its exposed brickwork and beams, will house the office of owner Laura Wallace, CEO and Creative Director of Worx & Co.

“I often say ‘we’. That may be my vision, but it takes a lot of help…my collective team,” Wallace said.

The third floor is a large unfinished brick room with exposed beams. It’s always been used for storage and they’ve found some “really cool old stuff” cleaning it up, including antiques from the 1920s to the 1970s.

It will mostly remain a large open space, with historic character intact and a small soundproof room in one corner for Wallace’s podcast. The Gutsy Podcast features female entrepreneurs from around the world and has been downloaded 38,000 times in over 100 countries.

As on the first floor, a coworking space is planned on the second floor, which will have a full open kitchen with seating in the back room. People will be able to buy daily or monthly passes to work there. With many home-based workers, it will provide a place of human connection.

“It’s like a home for business. You can bring your laptop and do your work,” Wallace said.

Laura Wallace stands in a room that will become a rental space for professional events, workshops, classes and team meetings on the second floor of the Aura building in Greencastle.  The room behind it will be a full-service kitchen.

The multipurpose room overlooking East Baltimore Street will feature mobile and modular furniture and can be rented for corporate events, workshops, classes and team meetings.

The second floor should be finished this year.

“If it’s supposed to happen sooner, it will happen,” Wallace said. “I don’t want to rush. I want to get it right the first time. I don’t want to sacrifice vision.”

Shawn Hardy is a reporter for Gannett’s Franklin County newspapers in south-central Pennsylvania – Echo Pilot in Greencastle, The Record Herald in Waynesboro, and Public Opinion in Chambersburg. She has over 35 years of journalism experience. Contact her at [email protected]

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