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Harrison Entrepreneur Creates 'Sweet Spot' With Pop Culture

Holly Sharpe and Hossain Ahmed outside their candy store, Pop Culture, in Harrison. Photo Credit: Submitted
The popular blackboard at Pop Culture in Harrison. Photo Credit: Submitted
Mix and match candy at Pop Culture in Harrison. Photo Credit: Submitted
Some of the candy options at Pop Culture in Harrison. Photo Credit: Submitted

HARRISON, N.Y. -- As a long-time Harrison resident and President of the Harrison Chamber of Commerce, Holly Sharpe had long heard grumblings from residents about how the town's business district needed something new and innovative.

So.. she decided to do something about it. In June, 2016, she, along with business partner Hossain Ahmed (who previously owned the Dollar Store in town), opened Pop Culture, a candy store -- and "so much more" (her words) -- geared to kids of all ages.

"We did not want to offer another pizza place, hair/nail salon or dry cleaner, but more retail options to attract shoppers to the downtown area," she said.

The colorful space sells a wide assortment of candies, both mix and match by weight, and packaged, as well as custom items with personalized edible labels and designs. In addition to its sweets, the store is also on-trend with gift items for the hard-to-please tween and teenager including pillows, apparel, decorative items, backpacks, camp accessories, jewelry, and patches.

A lot of its business also comes from in-store birthday parties -- Pop Culture offers an array of packages and party favors --with activities such as make your own candy sushi, candy flowers, candy art and games. The plan also includes a full meal and options for deserts and party favors.

And, they sell a ton of candy buffets and candy platters for holidays and special events, and will happily send care packages to campers and college students.

"We have candy 'cakes,' holiday candy platters, workshops for children and adults, and special pop up sales and trunk shows that appeal to all ages," said Sharpe.

"We also sell balloons for all occasions with delivery and setup. One of our most unique features in the store is our chalkboard wall which the kids just love to decorate and take 'selfies' in front of to post on their social media."

Sharpe, who worked in marketing for the financial sector for most of her career, said she is having a blast in her role as chief candy officer. "I had experience working on friends and family parties and making my children’s bar and bat mitzvahs unique, and realized that much of the entertainment, favors and candy-related items that we brought in to these parties were something I could do myself," she said.

The store is currently stocked with Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah items for gift giving and to snack on. And there's a full schedule of workshops and sales most weekends and holidays, which can be found on the store's Facebook and Instagram pages (PopCulture10528). The store is located at 267 Halstead Ave., (914) 315-1412.

If you don't see Sharpe in the store, you'll most likely find her walking the downtown area or in meetings with the Harrison Chamber of Commerce where she still serves as president. According to Sharpe, it's still very important to her to bring a more viable and sustainable business district to both the downtown and West Harrison areas.

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