Way back in October of 1941, Paul John Karpiak packed up his wife Alice and their new born son John, to move from the coal mining town of Old Forge, PA for a cleaner and safer life in the hills of Pike County Pennsylvania. Paul bought a little restaurant in Greeley named The Waldorf Inn, and weathered one very rough first winter. In June of 1942, after some lengthy discussion with a few of the residents Paul discovered that the Waldorf Inn had fallen out of favor with many of the local residents, so the search for a name change commenced.
Paul could not think of a good name for his business. At the end of June, Alice's brother George Serniak, was up for a short visit. George, a gifted animator simply sugested that they name the store after his sister and in the course of an afternoon George had Painted a new sign and with little fan fare Paul and Alice were now the proprietors of Alice's Wonderland.
At this point the restaurant started doing a really strong business, what with all the people around using the many boarding houses for there summer get away from the cities. The boarding house was pretty much the forerunner to today's resorts. However, as soon as the summer came to an end the people started heading back to their jobs and lives in the cities. Paul was somewhat beside himself as to what to do. How do I make a living when all the vacationers are gone? Well it actually took a couple of years and in the spring of 1946 he had (what we think was a pretty good idea). Since there was no where to get clothing and footwear except in the cities Paul decided to go on the road in search of things to sell to the residents of Pike County.
So basically the Alice's that people know and love today was started with $50 worth of shirts and pants on a table in the corner of a restaurant.
Alice's Wonderland has grown over the years and seen many different changes. Starting way back in the 50's with only distressed or closed out merchandise -- to today as an establishment that believes in carrying merchandise that is the highest quality in both function and form. It is through this belief that our customers receive their best return for their dollar. We are still a family run business and plan to stay that way. So, if you are ever in Northeastern Pennsylvania, please stop and say hello, as my mom would say, "we just love to chat".
Written by: P.J. Karpiak (grandson)
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