In the past three weeks, the Cumberland Valley has said goodbye to two beloved family men who left their mark on local business across the region. “Mister Ed” Gotwalt passed away Feb. 26 and C. Glenn Koons died March 12.
“Mister Ed” Gotwalt
Edwin Gotwalt—affectionately known as “Mister Ed”—died on the 46th anniversary of the founding of Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium in Orrtanna. He was 84.
Gotwalt got his start in business at the tender age of 6, when he began going door-to-door selling outdated calendars in York to help his single mother put food on the table. He left school after eighth grade to work on farms and sell newspapers before taking a job in a small chain grocery store in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area, where he worked his way up to store manager.
In 1975, he left the grocery business and returned to Pennsylvania to open Mister Ed’s: The Area’s Most Unusual General Store, along the Lincoln Highway near Gettysburg.
The original store became a community gathering place where locals stopped for food and fellowship at the snack bar and to see curiosities, such as a small elephant collection. But Mister Ed’s business didn’t stop there.
As the store evolved into a candy and gift shop, the elephant collection grew, too, thanks to many gifts and donations brought to Gotwalt over the years. Soon, the little shop along Route 30 became known across the nation as a must-see destination for tourists, with more than 2,000 elephants in his collection.
Meanwhile, Mister Ed, too, gained national notoriety, first through appearances on the Totem Pole Playhouse stage and, later, appearing as himself in the big-screen independent film trilogy, “Route 30.”
Gotwalt retired from the store in 2014, turning it over to his granddaughter and grandson-in-law, Nicole and Isaac Bucher.
He continued his community involvement by sharing his life experiences through public speaking engagements on his “10 Commandments of Good Business” and “Angels, Miracles and Other Stuff,” as well as serving on a variety of local boards, clubs and organizations.
In Gotwalt’s memory, the family recommends donations to his beloved Totem Pole Playhouse, P.O. Box 603, 9555 Golf Course Road, Fayetteville, PA 17222.
C. Glenn Koons
The name C. Glenn Koons may not be instantly recognizable, but the business he grew across Franklin County is well-known and loved across Central Pennsylvania.
Koons, along with his wife, Lorraine, founded Scotland Road Market, Inc.—known today as The Butcher Shoppe—in 1964, in a little storefront at the corner of Scotland and Roland avenues.
The corner market sold fresh-cut meats and offered a wide variety of grocery items.
Koons focused his business on purchasing goods from local farmers long before “buy fresh, buy local” was a catchphrase.
Across the county, Koons was recognized as a man of gentle spirit who lived simply in his faith, with an abiding love for his wife and family. As a business owner, he led with integrity, generosity and wisdom and was passionate in serving his staff and customers.
It was that passion and focus that helped grow the business.
In 1977, the couple opened a second store on Stouffer Avenue where the moniker “The Butcher Shoppe” took hold. They closed the original corner market a few years later.
The Stouffer Avenue store was expanded in 1986 and, in 2005, the Big Oak Café coffee shop debuted in a corner of the store.
The Koons’ turned the business over to their daughter and son-in-law, Mary Sue and Frank Keath in 2006, and the store saw another expansion in 2010.
In 2016, the Keaths turned the business over to their daughter and son-in-law, Anne and Leo Schoenhofen.
But the business that began as a corner store didn’t stop at growing larger. Micro markets were added in 2015 at Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe and in 2017 at the Coyle Free Library.
Then, in 2018, the family opened the Grant Street Loft—a state-of-the-art event space complete with commercial kitchen and seasonal rooftop garden.
Koons was 98 years old.
Memorial contributions may be made in his honor to the Chambersburg Church of the Brethren, 260 South Fourth Street, Chambersburg, PA 17201 or to Lifepoint Church 339 Lincoln Way East, Chambersburg, PA 17201.