Happening this week in and around Cecil County …

Top Hat Toys in the Oxford Farmer’s Market, 193 Limestone Road, Oxford, Pa., plans to be in its new, much larger store early in 2022. But for now, Lisa Sisson is moving out the hot toys as fast as she can stock them in her 300-square-foot operation.

“We had hoped to be in the new store before Christmas,” said Sisson, as she rung up another customer. Delays have made that hope disappear, but she said that is too busy to spend much time worrying about it.

Sisson runs the store, teaches school and drives the bus for the Lancaster County private school; all that while managing her stock in two storage units and her home.

“The new store will be 1200-square-feet with a second floor,” she said. That second floor means she doesn’t have to do her story time outside, which is what happened over the past summer.

“It went over well. We had 15-20 kids on a normal Friday,” she said. With the new building she’ll be able to host more events and have them indoors.

Sisson and her husband Michael opened Top Hat Toys a year ago.

“I didn’t know it was going to take off this well,” she said.

Saying she has always loved toys, Sisson started by doing vendor shows until COVID. During the pandemic she made a stop at the Oxford Farmer’s Market to get soft pretzels and the idea of having a store hit her. Top Hat Toys opened Nov. 6, 2020.

Accessing buyouts and over stocks, she offers her toys at prices competitive with the chain stores.

“Pokemon stuff I can’t keep in here,” she said. She has Legos, K’Nex, Paw Patrol, super heroes, action figures, retro toys, puzzles, games, RC cars, drones and more. She also has gift cards and offers free gift wrapping.

Top Hat Toys is open Friday 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday 8:30 until 5. The week after Thanksgiving, Sisson is adding Thursday hours from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. through the holiday shopping season.

On Small Business Saturday — Nov. 27 — Santa will be at the store as part of the Wish List Event.

“Kids get to make a wish list and take it right out to Santa,” Sisson said. Meanwhile mom and dad can get a head start on shopping with a sneak peek at the list.

Find out more on the Top Hat Toys Facebook page.

Keeping it in the family, Sisson’s daughter Abby Simpkins will be setting up shop as well when Top Hat Toys gets its larger store. Simpkins has been operating Sass Children’s Boutique online but said her mom invited her to offer her apparel inside the toy store.

Most of the Sass clothing is for girls but Simpkins said she will likely add more boys clothing with the in person shopping experience. For now shop on Facebook or InstaGram for the casual to dressy clothing.


Hollywood Casino in Perryville is another step closer to being able to offer sports wagering after action by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission.

Along with casinos in four other locations, Hollywood Casino already received certification from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission earlier this year. The SWARC licensing will allow the state lottery agency to issue licenses after assuring that each facility is operating within set guidelines.

“We’re excited to move forward, and we’re coordinating closely with the casinos to make sure they finish everything as quickly as they can,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin. “Work has been ongoing, and we’re close. Our target is to launch within 30-45 days, which means Marylanders will be able to bet on the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. We couldn’t be happier about that.”

Hollywood Casino has been open since September 2010.


Creative types have until the end of the month to get a decorated wreath to the Cecil County Arts Council for the 4th Annual Wonderland of Wreaths.

From Dec. 3-10 the wreaths will be on display for bidding with the proceeds benefitting the Arts Council and Cecil County Chamber of Commerce.

Your wreath can represent your business, a hobby or the season. Have fun with it, but get your finished wreath to 135 East Main St. in Elkton by Nov. 30.

Go to cecilchamber.com for details


Celebrate the holidays with a 5 Points Craftsgiving Saturday from noon until 4 p.m. at 5 Points Junction, 314 Chrome Road in Nottingham, Pa.

Rachel Francart, who owns the market with her husband Derek, said Craftsgiving will feature at least 17 local vendors offering handmade items or other gift ideas.


The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the National Business Inclusion Consortium has named Food Lion a “Best of the Best” for its commitment to diversity and inclusion across all communities, store officials announced recently.

“The Best-of-the-Best designation honors corporations for their commitment to America’s diverse employees and business owners, which includes LGBT people, people of color, women and people with disabilities,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson. “This designation is highly competitive and is bestowed only to corporations that we see constantly striving to strengthen and celebrate diversity.”

Food Lion has received this award for five consecutive years.

“To be named a Best-of-the-Best corporation by leaders in the LGBTQ industry reaffirms that the work we’ve been doing is making a difference for our associates and the communities we serve,” said Food Lion President Meg Ham. “Diversity, equity and inclusion are woven into the fabric of our business. We take great care to create an environment where everyone can feel they belong.”


Don’t go to that Thanksgiving dinner empty-handed. Chesapeake Gold Farms will be open from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, so you can pick up cheeses and meats for a top-notch charcuterie board or just plain old snacking.

Get some locally made butter and yogurt for your favorite dishes too. Check out the gift boxes for a hostess gift.

The Chesapeake Gold store in located at 41 Grove Miller Lane in North East.


If filling out FAFSA forms gives you an anxiety attack, Harford Community College and Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union would like to help with a free seminar on the ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid.’

The seminar will give good information for both college students and parents. If you have a high school junior or senior, find out now what you need to know to get college covered.

Topics to be covered include “Cost of Attendance and Financial Need,” “Categories, Types and Sources of Financial Aid,” and “Special Circumstances.”

You must pre-register to attend this Nov. 29 event at 1 p.m.


Get into the holiday spirit — perhaps literally — with Rudolph’s Pop Up Bourbon Bar open Thursday through Sunday from 5:30 until 10:30 p.m. at 64 South Third St. in Oxford.

This is your chance to sip, sample and find a new favorite to drink or gift. This is a cash-only event.


National Federation of Independent Business filed a legal challenge last week against moves by the Biden Administration to mandate COVID vaccinations.

According to NFIB the mandate is an over reach of authority by the federal government by requiring that employers force employees to be vaccinated. It infringes on the rights of small business owners to operate in a manner in which each sees fit and questions whether the Occupation Safety and Health Administration has the authority to issue such a mandate.

For now the order is on hold while the courts argue the merits of the case. OSHA meanwhile, seeks comment on a proposal to make the mandate enforceable on all businesses regardless of size. Right now the mandate would only affect those with 100 or more employees, barring the court action.

NFIB is encouraging owners of small businesses to get involved and comment on the mandate, which could go into effect Dec. 5 and be in force through May 5, 2022.

Lastly, NFIB wants to know how this “emergency temporary standard” would impact small businesses in Cecil County. Take the survey at https://www.nfib.com/advocacy/now/?vvsrc=%2fSurveys%2f7381%2fRespond


Don’t forget Saturday is Small Business Saturday, a day focusing on the neighborhood stores, shops and boutiques that make the local economy thrive.

This includes the smallest of businesses such as those run from a house. Remember stores such as Teal Antler Boutique, You Empowered Boutique and Be Free Boutique began with just an online presence are are now into brick and mortar locations and growing.

Elizabeth Charles Boutique is operating from 5 Navaho Trail North in Elkton, with shopping by appointment-only for now. You can see what this small business offers in women’s fashion on their Facebook page.


The Association of Mature American Citizens recently gave Rep. Andy Harris (R- 1st Dist) its American Patriot Award. Presented by Rebecca Weber, AMAC CEO, Harris was one of 56 members of Congress to be celebrated for what the organization described as “standing up against the harmful policies currently being advanced in Washington, DC. and by consistently promoting the American values of faith, family and freedom.”

Bob Carlstrom, president of AMAC Action, said Harris successfully represents the 7,504 Maryland first district members of the nationwide organization.

“Congressman Andy Harris has consistently defended the free enterprise system and the American values of faith, family, and freedom while pushing back against government overreach,” Carlstrom said. “As this administration doubles down on legislation that will dramatically expand that welfare state and hike taxes on the middle class, Congressman Andy Harris continues to lock arms with AMAC and our 2.3 million members nationwide against these destructive ideas.”

Business Beat is a weekly column on business happenings in and around Cecil County. If interested in having your business featured in this column, contact Jane Bellmyer at jbellmyer@cecilwhig.com or 443-245-5007.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.