The Business of Giving


Adams County Businesses Support Their Community

By Jessica L. Knouse

A business cannot be successful without transactional relationships and the exchange of goods or services for a fee. However, a successful business must also rely upon a community of customers to support its success. 

For these local businesses, the meaning of exchange goes beyond a simple transaction and involves the inspiration to give back to the very community that supports them. 

HD Entertainment, LLC

Heather Laughman, owner of HD Entertainment, LLC, is a powerhouse of a businesswoman who provides entertainment services for weddings and special events. She also donates her free time toward several significant community programs and organizations. 

With a passion for serving the community, Heather has single-handedly reinvigorated the annual Gettysburg Halloween Parade since 2021—and has no plans on stopping.

“It’s a huge project,” she says, “but the parade brings our whole community together, and I didn’t want this tradition to die.” 

When Heather was made aware that the previous sponsors would no longer be able to continue the annual event, she recruited volunteers from Businesswomen Influencing Gettysburg (BIG), a group she founded in 2020 consisting of local female professionals. “I realized we have such a strong backing of professionals in this group, and I had confidence that we could undertake such a huge task,” she says. 

Heather’s confidence paid off well.
She and her team acquired funds from a vast array of community sponsors to carry on the tradition of the Gettysburg Halloween Parade.

Not only does Heather volunteer her time to this event, she also serves as a volunteer for Toys for Tots of Adams County, which she describes as a year-round commitment. In her spare time, she also serves as a pack leader for
Boy Scouts Pack 88 and can often be found donating her DJ services and equipment to the Chamber of Gettysburg & Adams County too.

“I have long believed that no matter what type of business you are in, there should be an amount of time that you donate to your community and other worthy causes,” says Heather. “I try to lead by example for my children so that they understand that community service is so very important, and the impact you have may continue a legacy for future generations.”

Gettysburg Day Spa

Gettysburg Day Spa is an oasis of personal empowerment in the Gettysburg community, providing a wide menu of services, including facials, manicures, pedicures, massages and hairstyling. 

“I remember the first time I had my nails done,” shares Kathy Gilbert, owner of the Gettysburg Day Spa, “and how good I felt about myself afterwards.” 

The inspiration for Gettysburg Day Spa is not just about providing clients with a service; it’s about making clients feel good about themselves. While her own story, like many of ours, isn’t as pretty as freshly polished nails, Kathy uses her personal struggles as the inspiration to empower others. 

“I’m very aware of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ of Adams County,” says Kathy; this awareness has led her to donate to various nonprofit organizations.

Her main giving centers around the Adams County Children’s Advocacy Center and the United Way of Adams County, specifically for the United Way’s
A Woman’s Purse annual fundraiser. 

In addition to serving as a committee member for A Woman’s Purse, Kathy also donates an Ultimate Spa Day package as a grand prize, sponsors a guest table for her colleagues and friends, and donates purses for the event.

Combining her professional passion and her dedication to help youth, the Gettysburg Day Spa donates hair and make-up services for “the Vannas,” youth volunteers from Project Hope—
a program to support youth in foster care as well as at-risk youth from the community— who volunteer to present purses for auction.

“The United Way of Adams County is extremely grateful for the continued encouragement that we receive from Kathy Gilbert and the Gettysburg Day Spa,” says Laura McMahon, executive director of the United Way of Adams County. “And the help from Kathy is crucial for us to accomplish our goals in the community, year after year.” 

L&H Mechanical and Electrical Service, Inc.

Larry Plank and Holly Fox, owners of L&H Mechanical and Electrical Services, Inc., are the kind of business owners who don’t give to charity for the benefit of recognition. 

“We donate for what we believe in, and especially to organizations who believe in their own mission statement,” says Larry.

This rare opportunity to highlight their community contributions includes their support for the Adams County Arts Council, the Chamber of Gettysburg & Adams County, and the Gettysburg Choral Society.

If ever you met Larry, you’d come to recognize his uniform of jeans and a simple button-down shirt. His easygoing, no-nonsense but kind demeanor complements Holly’s exuberant personality. Their teamwork at L&H has allowed them to build a successful construction business, yet they also value the arts.

“Arts teach you what books can’t,” says Larry.

L&H Mechanical goes above and beyond for their community contributions, providing the entire electrical set-up, staffing and equipment rentals at-cost to the annual Gettysburg Wine & Music Festival, hosted by the Chamber of Gettysburg & Adams County, a local non-profit organization which supports area businesses. 

“The Chamber relies on this event’s revenue to provide educational programs, networking opportunities, business advertising and overall business support for our membership, and we couldn’t achieve our goals without the support of L&H Mechanical,” explains Carrie Stuart, president of the Chamber of Gettysburg & Adams County.

The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg

We are all familiar with The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg; it’s a great place to buy that last minute outfit or purchase a thoughtful gift. But did you know the it’s also the home of the Gettysburg Outlets Work Based Transition Program?

Students from Lincoln Intermediate Unit participate in the Gettysburg Outlets Work Based Transition Program.

Founded in 2002 and jointly facilitated by the Lincoln Intermediate Unit (LIU), the program teaches students ages 17 to 21 essential work skills so they may develop competencies for independent living. 

“The inspiration for the program was to provide real-life transition-building skills for special education students preparing to graduate from high school,” says program director Jessica Timcheck. 

The Gettysburg Outlets Work Based Training Program works with a number of businesses and organizations, including the Holiday Inn, Country
Inn and Suites, TGI Fridays, Adams County Rescue Mission and the LIU Adult Literacy Site.

Students in the program are able to experience many facets of the professional workforce, which may include creating store displays and dressing mannequins at Old Navy; unloading shipments to stores; cleaning the food court and job-shadowing. These tasks “provide students with unique opportunities to practice their social skills and interactions with the public,” says Jessica Timchek, work experience coordinator at Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12. 

“We have the privilege of working with the classroom, watching each student grow through their experiences and achieve new goals. Their fun and exuberant personalities are a treat. To say that these kids have our hearts is an understatement,” says Linda Wellborn general manager and marketing director for The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg.

The program is currently seeking additional site experiences for students; interested organizations or businesses may contact Jessica Timcheck at or 717-624-6538. 

HD Entertainment 

Gettysburg Day Spa 

L&H Mechanical and Electrical Services 

The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg

Give a Helping Hand

Adams County Arts Council

The Chamber of Gettysburg & Adams County

Gettysburg Choral Society

Gettysburg Halloween Parade

Lincoln Intermediate Unit

Project Hope

United Way of Adams County


About Author

Jessica Knouse

Jessica Knouse is a native to Adams County and grew up at the Round Barn Farm. A problem solver at heart, she is also great at making connections and finding creative solutions to her writing assignments. She lives with her husband in Gettysburg, along with her dog Freddy Mayonnaise. She has three stepdaughters: Kiera, Delanee and Allana.

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