A distinctive red sign hangs from an ornate iron bracket, a bright "open" flag flaps in the breeze and in warm weather, hand-painted gourd birdhouses line the steps.

For shoppers stepping inside the welcoming cocoon of Patsy's Potpourri of Gifts, 30 E. Philadelphia Ave., Boyertown, time is short, since owner Patsy Hahn has decided to retire and close her gift shop.

"I'm ready to retire," said Hahn, 65, who grew up in Phoenixville and now lives in Douglassville.

Patsy's is a Boyertown landmark known for featuring American-made goods, many from artisans in Berks County.

For 12 years, Patsy's has been on a prime spot at the corner of Philadelphia Avenue and Main Street. The shop has come full circle, having opened in March 2009 and closing at the end of March. In response to COVID-19 restrictions, Patsy's was closed for three months, reopening in early June. 

"We're always sad to see any business go, especially one that's been here as long as Patsy's," said Jillian Magee, Main Street manager for Building a Better Boyertown, a nonprofit organization working to preserve the town's artistic, historical and agricultural heritage.

"We don't want to lose any businesses," agreed Rachel Kehler, owner of The Peppermint Stick Candy Store, 26 E. Philadelphia Ave., next door to Patsy's.

Kehler said Hahn shared do's and don'ts of retail when she opened her candy shop in 2015. Rather than competing for customers, Kehler said she and Hahn have been friendly collaborators.

Hahn said she is open to selling her gift shop business, including the name and any leftover inventory. She rents her space, which gets lots of pedestrian traffic and is the center of downtown events such as Coming out of Hibernation, traditionally held the third Saturday in April. (At press time, BBB was still discussing whether the spring celebration would be virtual, in-person or a hybrid).

With the exit of Patsy's Potpourri of Gifts, that leaves downtown Boyertown with no gift shops.

Magee said Hahn has asked BBB for help in finding someone to take over the business, and that is BBB's first priority.

The next best move would be finding an occupant — not necessarily a retailer — for the space. 

"At this moment in time, we have two possible businesses that are interested in taking over that space," Magee said Thursday.

Old-fashioned courtesy, with an emphasis on quality, are important to Hahn.

"Nothing in my store is mass produced," said the shopkeeper, who always greets shoppers and sends home purchases in gift bags.

During the first two years she was open, she would lie awake at night, brimming with ideas and discussing them with her husband, Garth, whom she lost in 2016.

"I love people," Hahn said, adding that her husband grew up in Boyertown. "I did it for the town."

Patsy's has extended hours for February, but over the years she was open three days a week. She is thankful for that because it enabled her to spend more time with Garth during their 24 years together.

As for her biggest sellers, the gourd birdhouses take that honor in a shop known for its pottery, jewelry, Christmas ornaments and cards. Styles range from primitive and traditional to modern. There are windchimes, photography, pet accessories, soaps and lotions (including Body "budders" from Bates Family Farm in Virginia, made with goat's milk), baskets, signs, Tastefully Simple spice mixes and even organic vegan chocolate.

As an independent, small shopkeeper, Hahn always participated in Small Business Saturday in November, and she liked to keep her inventory fresh by rotating in new things as older items were discontinued. She traveled to craft shows to find new artisans. 

Hahn has held many jobs over her lifetime, but always had a hand in retail, and she is the sole employee of the shop other than occasional students hired during busy times. 

Now she is hoping to sell everything, including shelving, fixtures and a couple of antique tables.

In the next chapter of her life, Hahn said she is excited at the prospect of having no schedule, with the freedom to have tea with neighbors at her 55-plus community — and traveling again once the pandemic is over.

"I'm not sad," Hahn said. "I've worked since I was 14."

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