I think I knew that opening a shop in downtown Winchester would be somewhat of a challenge. I daresay some local merchants might even say that's a truth that goes without saying --when your location is a small town that sits at the northern most tip of Virgina in the Shenandoah Valley an hour and a half from D.C. No, it would be no cake walk.
I was prepared though having lived in the area for nearly 20 years I knew that Winchesterites were a rather unique breed of bird. The highfalutin ones wouldn't be caught dead shopping downtown and the other townies wait for the Wallmart special "falling prices" days to do their shopping. But I am thrilled to be the bearer of great news. The winds have begun to change... our walking mall has just undergone a multi-million dollar renovation and the Taylor Hotel is finally beginning to take shape. The Bright Box performing center and the expansion of Shenandoah University is bringing more diversity and new vibrant blood to the area. There is a real Old Town feel sort of like Old Town Alexandria or Charlottesville starting and I like it. It's fabulous to see that most of the storefronts on the walking mall are occupied and that the locals are beginning to see what the beauty of historical Winchester really has to offer. Many enamored customers of ours have insisted that if The Stock Exchange was over the mountain-- we would be swamped -- they would eat us up -- great stuff great prices--etc.. But alas, currently we find ourselves in the dog days of August and faced with a bit of end of summer blues. Retail and summer vacations don't get along and slow sales has got us somewhat "verklempt". ( a great yiddish word for strong unyielding emotion) But hey, this is where the virtue comes in of "practicing our patience." My grandad used to always say " patience is a virtue! " and to be honest, as a kid, I had no earthly idea what he meant. All i knew is that I wanted to have some of that thing he prized so highly. Then there was Honey ( my grandmother and his beloved wife) she also helped to ingrain these old fashioned but vitally important ideals in my head. She helped round out his idealism with her " don't let the bastards get you down, " comment --when ever any of us faced difficult situations. I am so thankful for the ways that they showed me that people mattered more than money and that love was always the best solution. I am happy to be the owner of a shop that offers folks in town a way to make money off of things that they have grown tired of.( (our consignment service) And delighted to be able to facilitate the success of some of our handmade vendors and co op partners. Making a difference in peoples everyday lives is what matters to me. I hope that when someone walks through the front door of the Stock Exchange and hears the wooden screen door slam behind them they feel at home. I hope Bonnie Raitt and the smell of pumpkin candles in a place full of treasures and finds that they haven't come across in years will give them a shopping experience that they don't forget. Just this week we sold a chalk painted green vanity, a 1950's white metal dental cabinet and three jars of vintage buttons. Yes. Grandad if you're watching me .. I will be patient. It is a virtue that you made sure I valued. And I can trust that as time goes on... word of its uniqueness and its charm...will travel to the ears and the hearts of those in the area and even over that great big mountain and that folks will frequent the shop often and keep it going and on for many years to come. I want it to become a great success that you would be proud of.