Tag Archives: Shopping

Christmas shopping on a budget revisited

13 Dec And now I look like this when I think about Christmas Shopping.....
Post written by Laureen Blakemore
Revisted 11/27/13
Last year I confessed to you a startling fact: I DO NOT LIKE SHOPPING! and I am VERY IMPATIENT!  Hard to believe, I know, but it remains true.  And though I actually am mellowing to the potential joy of shopping I still foresee a fair amount of retail therapy in my future before I can truly embrace the joy!
christmas-shopping
And so, once again, I believe it remains relevant to share with you my very slightly revised post about Christmas Shopping on a Budget.
I used to find Christmas  shopping to be a pain in the……. well you know what. Standing in line in crowded shops combined with the pressure to find exactly the right gift for each person on my list was not only frustrating to me, but was actually rather annoying.  Over the years Christmas shopping became an  exercise in frantically grabbing whatever I could find, as fast as I could find it and getting out of the door and back home as quickly as was humanly possible. Not much thought went into anyone’s gift. Friends or family members, who were unfortunate enough to come shopping with me, were usually left re-evaluating our relationship as they watched me turn into an impatient, obnoxious lunatic as I desperately tried to navigate my way through crowds and badly laid out aisles to find my way to the nearest cashier or doorway.
Candle sticks, purses,coasters and more under $20 available in Ten Thousand Villages in Fringe Benefit

Candle sticks, purses,coasters and more under $20 available in Ten Thousand Villages in Fringe Benefit

And now…….well I shop downtown, right here in Blacksburg.While I would certainly not pretend  that I suddenly find shopping to be my most favorite activity in the whole wide world ever, I have found that I can tolerate it a lot better and sometimes I actually even enjoy myself!
I hear a lot of people saying that it is too expensive to shop locally so today I set myself a challenge- to find out if it was possible to shop downtown for Christmas gifts that cost less than $20 each. Turned out to be a bigger challenge than I expected because there was just so much available to choose from. In many instances I found delightful gifts which cost less than $10 so now I am spoiled for choice! Shopping for the holidays is made even easier by our downtown merchants who offer a whole variety of special shopping events throughout late November and December leading up to the big day. Starting with Small Business Saturday on November 30, the merchants offer late night shopping hours, special sales, Sunday hours, and themed night such as Ladies Night (Dec 12) and Gents Night (Dec 19). These themed nights feature  free gift wrapping, Wish Lists,  personal shopping assistance, special discounts, refreshments and more. Yes- they even give us refreshments while we shop!
Reusable water bottle available at The Lyric Theatre

Reusable water bottle available at The Lyric Theatre

So what brought about this change of heart in my shopping attitude I hear you asking?  Well really it’s probably down to 5 simple reasons and I  want to share those with you.
1) I now know our downtown store owners, and they know me. They are used to my “shopping phobia” and are quick to offer shopping advice if needed and equally quick to know when I just want to be left alone! I have never had to waste my time searching for a sales assistant to tell me the price of an item, or to find out if they have the size I need in stock. Downtown the sales assistants, or in many cases, the owners, are on hand almost immediately if a customer has a question. And there is certainly something to be said for shopping in the places where “everybody knows your name” (to quote from one of my favorite old shows “Cheers”)!
2)  Every time I go and shop downtown I can absolutely guarantee that I will bump into somebody I know in at least one store. So now in addition to purchasing items I can catch up with friends and acquaintances, swap ideas about gifts for you know who, whom they just happen to know too! Suddenly shopping is a much less daunting task, it’s a social experience and I truly do love to be sociable! Often the shopping trip becomes much more than that- how fun it is to catch up with others and maybe move on from the store to one of the great restaurants or to The Lyric to catch a movie, or on a sunny day to hang out together at Market Square Park.

Delicious locally made chocolates, mugs, puzzles,Seeds of Happiness and more available in Uncommonly Gifted for less than $20

Delicious locally made chocolates, mugs, puzzles,Seeds of Happiness and more available in Uncommonly Gifted for less than $20

3) Our downtown stores have more one-of-a-kind gifts, unique and unusual pieces as opposed to the mass-produced items that are found elsewhere. Our stores offer a more low-pressure shopping experience and so many different options, so I am able to spend more time finding gifts that really suit members of  my family and my friends.
4) In our downtown stores the staff  are more familiar with their merchandise, and offer personalized assistance  in a low stress environment. And if they do not carry something I am looking for they let me know where I can find it elsewhere!
All your Hokie gift needs under $20 available in  Tech Bookstore, High Peak Sportswear and Bookholders

All your Hokie gift needs under $20 available in Tech Bookstore, High Peak Sportswear and Bookholders

5) Smaller stores = shorter lines= less waiting time. Enough said!
We all know by now, I hope, that supporting local business is beneficial to the local economy as well. According to a Nov. 22, 2011, Forbes article by Deborah Sweeney, for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 gets returned to the community, either in employee paychecks, or through taxes. An Oct. 21, 2011, U.S. News article by Rachel Koning Beals corroborates this claim, adding that, in comparison, one Chicago-based study found that only $43 of every $100 spent at chain stores remains in the local economy. Sweeney describes local businesses as “the backbone of the community”. When you spend your money locally, you are supporting the people who live next door, the people who know your name!
Candles, tapestries, incense and more under $20 available in Nice Dreams

Candles, tapestries, incense and more under $20 available in Nice Dreams

And so with all of this in mind back to my challenge- Christmas shopping on a budget downtown. I found so very many items for $20 or less that I finally stopped looking. I have provided some pictures and ideas here for you as well as a list of most of  our downtown stores. I encourage you to take this challenge and come down and see how much is available- from $3 stocking stuffers in The Clothes Rack to $10 gloves in Fringe Benefit or Disappearing Tardis Mugs in Uncommonly Gifted: from a selection of art projects and coloring books in Mish Mish to all of your Hokie needs in High Peak Sportswear, Tech Bookstore,  or Bookholders: from beautiful works of arts and crafts in Matrix Gallery, The Gallery Store or Eucalyptus Massage Studio to cell phone accessories in Wireless Zone: from cool Kitchen accessories in Gourmet Pantry to all your gardening needs in Heavener Hardware. So many great gifts under $20 each, and in many cases, under $10 available in downtown Blacksburg! And if you are still not sure what would be the absolute best gift for your teacher/ boss/wife/friend/co-worker you can always get Downtown Gift Certificates  sold in $5 or $20 denominations at the National Bank of Blacksburg on Roanoke Street. They can be redeemed in more than 60 downtown businesses allowing the recipient to choose exactly where they want to spend their $$’s!
So come on downtown and take the challenge- get your Christmas gifts for $20 or less, you’ll be surprised how much fun you’ll have during your shopping local experience!
Gifts of art under $20 available in Matrix Gallery

Gifts of art under $20 available in Matrix Gallery

310 Rosemont
208 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-961-5326
Alligator Alley
401 S. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-4287
Beliveau Estate Winery
104 W. Roanoke St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-961-0505
Boo Boo bunnies and other gifts created by local artisans available at The Gallery Store for under $20

Boo Boo bunnies and other gifts created by local artisans available at The Gallery Store for under $20

Bike Barn
424 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-443-3323
Blacksburg Pipe & Tobacco
408 N.Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-951-8457
Bookholders.com
125 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-808-4481

Socks, soaps, gloves, glasses, jewelry and more under $20 available in Fringe Benefit

Socks, soaps, gloves, glasses, jewelry and more under $20 available in Fringe Benefit

Capone’s Fine Jewelry
101 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-953-1000

Clothes Rack
105 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-8147

Eats Natural Foods
708A N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-2279

Eucalyptus Massage Therapy
201 S. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552- CALM

Arts, crafts, books, toys and more under $20 available in Mish Mish

Arts, crafts, books, toys and more under $20 available in Mish Mish

Friends of the Farmers Market
P.O. Box 568
Blacksburg, VA 24063
540-239-8290

Fringe Benefit
117 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-951-9777

Gourmet Pantry
401 S. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-951-1995

Greenhouse Boardshop
203 College Ave.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-3872

Kitchen accessories, gourmet foods, fun kitchen products and more under $20 at Gourmet Pantry.

Kitchen accessories, gourmet foods, fun kitchen products and more under $20 at Gourmet Pantry.

Heavener Hardware & Lumber
801 Kabrich St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-1221

Heirloom Originals
609 North Main Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060
552-9241

High Peak Sportswear
209 College Ave.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-953-1293

Huge variety of gardening gloves and other great gifts for the home and garden lovers in your life. Available at Heavener Hardware.

Huge variety of gardening gloves and other great gifts for the home and garden lovers in your life. Available at Heavener Hardware.

John’s Camera Corner & Gentry Studio
213 Draper Rd.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-2319

Kent Jewelers
210 S. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-3241

Mad Dog
109 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-961-4038

Matrix Gallery
115 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-951-3566

Fancy frames,soaps,ducks and more under $20 available at Mad Dog

Fancy frames,soaps,ducks and more under $20 available at Mad Dog

Mish Mish
125 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-1020

Nice Dreams
115-B North Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-4733

polished by claire v.
101 South Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
1540-342-5895

Sandra Eileen Designs
106 Faculty Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060

Stocking stuffers, toys, hats and more under $20 available at The Clothes Rack

Stocking stuffers, toys, hats and more under $20 available at The Clothes Rack

Tech Bookstore
118 S. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-552-6444

The Artful Lawyer Gallery Store
320 N.Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540- 443.9350 ext. 707

Uncommonly Gifted
208 S. Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-951-1818

Unique gifts under $20 in Heirloom Originals

Unique gifts under $20 in Heirloom Originals

Vintage Touch
208A North Main Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-951-1901

Wireless Zone
304 N. Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540-961-4200

And now I look like this when I think about Christmas Shopping.....

And now I look like this when I think about Christmas Shopping…..

I used to look like this when I thought about Christmas Shopping.....

I used to look like this when I thought about Christmas Shopping…..

Okay, not really. Just checking to see who read to the end! Share your favorite downtown place to shop for the holidays here and be entered in a draw to win Downtown Gift Certificates. Draw will take place on December 23.

Small Business Saturday- Nov 30, 2013

17 Nov Shop Local

small_business

The Downtown Merchants of Blacksburg encourage shoppers to stay home and enjoy Thanksgiving with family, and maybe even to avoid the craziness of corporate “big box” Black Friday. Instead we suggest coming out and supporting small businesses by buying local on Small Business Saturday.

Top Ten reasons to Think Local – Buy Local – Be Local
Information taken from Sustainable Connections

http://sustainableconnections.org/thinklocal/why

1) Buy Local — Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.

2) Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.

3) Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit. “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust

4) Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.

5) Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.

6) Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.

7) Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.

8) Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.

9) Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

10) Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY®
THE DAY WE ALL SHOP SMALL®

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/content/small-business/shop-small/about/

“Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country.

Founded by American Express in 2010, this day is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
This year, Small Business Saturday is on November 30th.”

Support our local small businesses. Shop Local on Small Business Saturday, and every day!

DMOB_13298928

Cash Mob Incorporates Buy, Eat Live Local Campaign

7 Oct

Post Written by Megan Campbell

Blacksburg, Va.— Locals of all ages gathered at Henderson Lawn on Wednesday evening, Sept. 26 for the monthly Cash Mob and incorporated Blackburg’s Buy, Eat, Live Local Campaign.

The participants, who included a variety of age groups, consisting of young children to seniors, waited patiently until 6:08 p.m. when the Cash Mob details were announced.

At the right time, Laureen Blakemore, Director of Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. announced that the group would be “mobbing” Mish Mish, a local art supply store, and Cafe de Bangkok, a modern Thai cuisine restaurant. After, the group would join in on the fun at the Crooked Road Presentation at Market Square Jam.

Drumroll Please: Laureen Blakemore, Director of Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. shares to the crowd where they will be venturing to that evening. The Cash Mob visited Mish Mish and later ate at Cafe de Bangkok. Photo by Megan Campbell

Drumroll Please: Laureen Blakemore, Director of Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. shares to the crowd where they will be venturing to that evening. The Cash Mob visited Mish Mish and later ate at Cafe de Bangkok. Photo by Megan Campbell

 Drumroll Please: Laureen Blakemore, Director of Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. shares to the crowd where they will be venturing to that evening. The Cash Mob visited Mish Mish and later ate at Cafe de Bangkok.

Each month, locals meet at a specific location in Downtown Blacksburg, not knowing where they will venture to that evening.

There are only three rules to the Cash Mob. Participants are asked to bring a minimum of $20, meet three new people and have fun.

A unique aspect of Blacksburg’s Cash Mob is that local non-profits are sometimes involved.

This time, the cash mob donated canned food and granola bars to Micah’s Backpack, a non-profit that address children’s hunger issues.

“Micah’s Backpack is Blacksburg’s weekend feeding program for low income kids at the five elementary schools, middle school, high school and two income-based pre-schools,” said Jennie Hodge, Director of Micah’s Backpack. “This is the second time that the Cash Mob has donated to Micah’s Backpack.”

Off They Go: The Cash Mob makes its way to the first stop, Mish Mish, a local art supply store. People of all ages were able to find several things to buy. Photo By Megan Campbell

Off They Go: The Cash Mob makes its way to the first stop, Mish Mish, a local art supply store. People of all ages were able to find several things to buy. Photo By Megan Campbell

For many locals, the Buy, Eat, Live Campaign is an important aspect to daily life in Blacksburg.

The monthly cash mob incorporates all three parts of the campaign, simply within a few hours of being downtown.

Cash mobbers are given the opportunity to buy at local stores, eat at local restaurants and are able to enjoy and participate in activities where they live, while giving back to the community.

For more information on Micah’s Backpack or the Blacksburg Cash Mob, visit www.micahsbackpack.org or www.facebook.com/DowntownBlacksburgCashMobs.

Please join us on Wednesday, October 23 at 6:12pm for the next Cash Mob
Meeting Place : Benches in front of Mike’s Grill
Partnering with the YMCA. Family Friendly event so bring the kids!

Summertime in Downtown Blacksburg 2013

31 May 27

Artcrawl with Scavenger Hunt
Friday June 7, 5-8pm
FREE and open to all!
Collect Scavenger Hunt form at participating galleries, return completed form to Community Arts Information Office (CAIO) by 8pm. Prizes will be awarded!

Participating Galleries:
Armory Art Gallery, Bollo’s Gallery, Burnt Creative Boutique, CAIO, Capone’s Fine Jewelers , The Artful Place, Eucalyptus Massage Studio Gallery,Gallery at Mish Mish, Gillie’s Gallery, Kent Jewelers, Matrix Gallery, Nest Realty, Perspectives Gallery, Pita Vera, The Artful Lawyer A Fine Gallery Inc

Cash Mob
Join us on Thursday, June 27 at 5:38pm
Meet at the Odd Fellows Hall, near Buffalo Wild Wings
We will shop in a locally owned store and then celebrate in a locally owned and operated restaurant. Partnering with Valley Interfaith Chil Care Center. Bring craft supplies such as washable markers, school glue, crayola finger paint, etc to donate to VICCC.
RULES:
Meet 3 new people
Spend $20
Support local businesses
HAVE FUN!!!!

Downtown Cash Mob dates for 2013
June 27- with VICCC
July 16- Ladies Only!
August 13
September 25- with Micah’s Backpacks
October 24- with the YMCA Please join us for the next Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. Cash Mob.

Blacksburg Farmers Market
Market Hours:
Wednesday 2pm-7pm
Saturday 10am – 2 pm
Special Events:
Sunday June 2, 10am – 3pm: Vintage and Antique Market, featuring food from Bollo’s and Pita Vera
June 12- Mingle at the Market- featuring wine from Beliveau Winery, beer from Bull and Bones and music by Welcome to Hoonah!
Saturday June 22, 9 – 11:30 am: Solstice Chef featuring a food demo and tasting with VT chef Randy Van Dyke, and the grand launch of our Mobile Kitchen!
July 10- Mingle at the Market
July 20- Breakfast at the Market
August 14- Tomato Tasting

Movies on The Lawn- Presented by the Blacksburg Museum & Cultural Foundation
Thomas Connor House Lawn. 104 Draper Rd
Admission and popcorn are FREE
Bring a blanket or chair and purchase some dinner from a local food vendor prior to the Movie.
Movie starts at dark. Rain date Saturday.
For details call 540-558-0746
Sponsored by The Town of Blacksburg, The National Bank of Blacksburg, First Bank of Virginia, Real Life Dental Care, The Blacksburg Partnership, Dr. Steve Jacobs, Stellar One Bank, First Bank & Trust Co, Rocky Acres, Plott & French Financial Advisors, Christian Insurance Agency, Starshine Events and The Lyric Theatre.
June 14- The Odd Life of Timothy Green
July 12- Paranorman
August 9- Zookeeper

Blacksburg Rescue Squad
Please join us for our annual open house Saturday June 15th from 1pm until 5pm.
There will be a demonstration showing how a victim is removed from a car damaged in an accident using the jaws of life. A real car will be used. There will also be tours of the ambulances and crash trucks. Bring the kids,have a bite to eat and meet members of your local volunteer rescue.
For more details visit: http://www.blacksburgrescue.org/events

Up on the Roof
May 30th, June 27th, July 25th, August 29th and Sept. 26th.
Blacksburg Premier Creative Professional’s mixer. We meet on the last Thursday of every month (April through Sept) on the rooftop of the Kent Square parking lot from 5:30-8pm – it is a happy hour networking social.

Market Square Jam
Blacksburg’s Market Square Jam kicks off the summer 2013 season on Wednesday, June 5. The Jam is a weekly event that takes place Wednesday evenings from 8-11 pm at the site of the Farmers Market on Draper Road. The season will run from June 5 – September 25.
Whether you’re a musician wanting to jam with others or just looking for some great music on a Wednesday night, come out to the Farmers Market and enjoy a great time.
June 5- The Jugbusters
June 12 – Katie and the Bubbatones
June 19 – Sam Linkous and Friends
June 26 – The Happy Hollow String Band
July 10 – Katie and the Bubbatones
July 17 – Sam Linkous and Friends
July 24 – Indian Run String Band
July 31 – Farm Use Only
August 7 – Black Twig Pickers
August 14 – Sam Linkous and Friends

For more information, visit www.blacksburg.gov/marketsquarejam.

Summer Arts Festival
“Friday Night” Out Concerts
6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
June 21-Cyrus Pace Quartet
June 28-No Strings Attached
July 5-Gerry Timlin
July 12-Three Minute Lovin’
July 19-Sexual Chocolate
July 26-Key West Band

6th annual Summer Solstice Fest
Come have a mid-summer frolic in Downtown Blacksburg on Friday June 21 5-10pm for the Carnival and Saturday, June 22, from one ‘til midnight for the Festival and Carnival.

Live music, dog parade, Treasure Island, Beer Garden, a giant sand beach, a Downtown Sundown 5K Run, Wing eating Contest,Water Wars, Carnival and much more! Bring the kids to an old-fashioned flea circus, crafts, activities, and festival foods.

Downtown Sundown 5K® – download your application here
 http://www.runaboutsports.com/images/Race_Docs/2013SundownRegistration.pdf

Art at the Market
Art at the Market 2013will take place on Saturday, July 20, from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Once again, this Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. event will be in conjunction with the annual Breakfast at the Farmers Market. Live Music provided by Kat Mills and Eric Lanoue.

Download the 2013 application. Spaces are limited, so be sure to get your application in quickly. Spaces will be assigned based on indicated preference (where possible) and in the order received.

With your participation we hope to make this the biggest and best Art at the Market ever!

Thanks to our Art at the Market Sponsors: Fringe Benefit, Mish Mish and The Community Arts Information Office

33rd Annual Steppin’ Out
August 2-3, 2013 from 10 am until 10 pm.
Steppin’ Out features over 200 artists and crafts people from around the United States selling unique handcrafted items – jewelry, pottery, textiles, metal work, basketry, stained & fused glass, yard art, fine art, furniture, toys, artisan foods and so much more!

For more details of all events visit www.downtownblacksburg.com

Heavener Hardware offers True Value!

26 Apr ??????????

Post written by Cyndy Graham

Heavener Hardware has a long history of serving the town of Blacksburg. Blacksburg Lumber Company started out in the Blacksburg library building on Draper Road before moving to 813 Kabrich Street in 1980. The company became Heavener Hardware and Lumber when David Heavener bought the business in 1983.  Current co-owner Charles Woerner starting working there four days later. Current store manager Ed brought Charles to work with him at Heavener. Previously, they were both employed by Basic Hardware (formerly Western Auto). Basic Hardware is no longer around, but used to be located on Main Street in downtown Blacksburg. Obviously, there is a wealth of knowledge and experience to be found at Heavener Hardware that you will not find at the “big box” stores. The prices are also comparable, and the great service adds to the value.

Charles, a 1982 Virginia Tech business management graduate, thinks that in addition to being a great place to have a business, Blacksburg’s overall quality of life can’t be beat!   Charles and his wife, a Blacksburg native, decided to stay in Blacksburg because of the great school system, temperate climate, and small town atmosphere; the same attributes that still attract people to the area. Despite the dearth of department store shopping, which has been helped in some respect by the addition of First and Main, Charles believes that the town does a good job helping businesses get noticed and keeping businesses informed of recent developments. New additions to Virginia Tech, such as the new arts center, and downtown improvements such as the College Avenue Promenade project, all contribute to making Blacksburg a progressive community, while still preserving the small town atmosphere that people love so much.

Heavener Hardware’s major affiliation is the True Value brand. True Value is one of the major co-ops in the hardware industry providing buying power while allowing local ownership and autonomy. The store employs 24 people with an average of 16 years of service. Some employees have been in the industry for over 40 years, guaranteeing that if you need expert advice on a project you are sure to get just what you need! The Rental Store offers equipment from hand tools all the way up to Bobcats. Rentals are available from 1 hr to as long as you need the equipment.

Charles Woerner is currently serving as the Board President for Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. He is in his second term on the DBI Board and is an extremely active member of the organization which Heavener joined about 4 years ago. Heavener Hardware has a cardboard compactor available for public use to recycle cardboard as part of the Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. GREEN Initiative.

Heavener Hardware was host to a Cash Mob on Saturday March 9, 2013. For more about our monthly downtown Cash Mobs please visit our facebook page.

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Lia’s Hairstyling

8 Feb ??????????

Post written by Cyndy Graham
Lia’s Hairstyling has been at 107 North Main St. for 15 years. Lia and her daughter Luanda always keep their customer’s convenience in mind by scheduling walk-ins as well as appointments. Lia came to the US because she had family here. ??????????
First to upstate New York, and then, when Luanda was 5 years old, they moved to Blacksburg where her uncle was a student at Virginia Tech. Lured here by the small town atmosphere and good schools where Lia could raise her family, she started the business in 2003. Lia has been doing hair for many years, first in her native Brazil, and now in Blacksburg. After Luanda graduated from Blacksburg High School she joined her Mom. The salon also employs two other stylists.
??????????

They believe that what sets Lia’s apart from other salons is the décor, the quality of their work, and their inclusive mentality. I was struck by the large space that was decorated in a modern, but homey style. There are beautiful wood floors, and brightly colored oil paintings by Luanda’s brother line the walls. They told me they always strive to make sure the customer is happy with the salon experience. They are so warm and likeable, I’m sure this is the case. They told me they don’t cater to one specific kind of hair, and are very adept at doing all kinds, which adds an international element to the business. I felt very comfortable walking in and sitting down and talking, very much as I would in someone’s home.??????????

Most of their clientele find Lia’s from referrals from other satisfied customers. I first heard of Lia’s when a friend had a pink streak put in her hair for breast cancer awareness. This is the third year that Lia’s has participated in the event, sponsored by the Virginia Tech Relay for Life. Luanda was approached by a member of the Relay for Life team with the hair streaking idea, which also happened to occur at time where she was dealing with the recent death of her fiancé to cancer. Of course, Luanda and Lia were onboard and they tell me the response has been overwhelming. People who were not interested in getting their hair done have also used the event as an opportunity to donate. In order to raise awareness for autism, one client requested a blue streak! Lia and Luanda plan to participate twice a year, once in March and once in October.
Lia’s is more than just a hair salon. It is a home away from home, a way to contribute to a cause you believe in, and a place to meet new friends!?????????? ??????????

Christmas shopping on a budget

19 Dec Stocking stuffers, toys, hats and more under $20 available at The Clothes Rack
Post written by Laureen Blakemore

Anybody who knows me well knows this fact about me: I DO NOT LIKE SHOPPING! And yes I will admit it- I am also VERY IMPATIENT!  I used to find Christmas  shopping to be a pain in the……. well you know what. Standing in line in crowded shops combined with the pressure to find exactly the right gift for each person on my list was not only frustrating to me, but was actually rather annoying.  Over the years Christmas shopping became an  exercise in frantically grabbing whatever I could find, as fast as I could find it and getting out of the door and back home as quickly as was humanly possible. Not much thought went into anyone’s gift. Friends or family members, who were unfortunate enough to come shopping with me, were usually left re-evaluating our relationship as they watched me turn into an impatient, obnoxious lunatic as I desperately tried to navigate my way through crowds and badly laid out aisles to find my way to the nearest cashier or doorway.

And now…….well I shop downtown, right here in Blacksburg.While I would certainly not pretend  that I suddenly find shopping to be my most favorite activity in the whole wide world ever, I have found that I can tolerate it a lot better and sometimes I actually even enjoy myself!
I hear a lot of people saying that it is too expensive to shop locally so today I set myself a challenge- to find out if it was possible to shop downtown for Christmas gifts that cost less than $20 each. Turned out to be a bigger challenge than I expected because there was just so much available to choose from. In many instances I found delightful gifts which cost less than $10 so now I am spoiled for choice!

So what brought about this change of heart in my shopping attitude I hear you asking?  Well really it’s probably down to 5 simple reasons and I  want to share those with you.

1) I now know our downtown store owners, and they know me. They are used to my “shopping phobia” and are quick to offer shopping advice if needed and equally quick to know when I just want to be left alone! I have never had to waste my time searching for a sales assistant to tell me the price of an item, or to find out if they have the size I need in stock. Downtown the sales assistants, or in many cases, the owners, are on hand almost immediately if a customer has a question. And there is certainly something to be said for shopping in the places where “everybody knows your name” (to quote from one of my favorite old shows “Cheers”)!

2)  Every time I go and shop downtown I can absolutely guarantee that I will bump into somebody I know in at least one store. So now in addition to purchasing items I can catch up with friends and acquaintances, swap ideas about gifts for you know who, whom they just happen to know too! Suddenly shopping is a much less daunting task, it’s a social experience and I truly do love to be sociable! Often the shopping trip becomes much more than that- how fun it is to catch up with others and maybe move on from the store to one of the great restaurants or to The Lyric to catch a movie, or on a sunny day to hang out together at Market Square Park.

3) Our downtown stores have more one-of-a-kind gifts, unique and unusual pieces as opposed to the mass-produced items that are found elsewhere. Our stores offer a more low-pressure shopping experience and so many different options, so I am able to spend more time finding gifts that really suit members of  my family and my friends.

4) In our downtown stores the staff  are more familiar with their merchandise, and offer personalized assistance  in a low stress environment. And if they do not carry something I am looking for they let me know where I can find it elsewhere!

5) Smaller stores = shorter lines= less waiting time. Enough said!

We all know by now, I hope, that supporting local business is beneficial to the local economy as well. According to a Nov. 22, 2011, Forbes article by Deborah Sweeney, for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 gets returned to the community, either in employee paychecks, or through taxes. An Oct. 21, 2011, U.S. News article by Rachel Koning Beals corroborates this claim, adding that, in comparison, one Chicago-based study found that only $43 of every $100 spent at chain stores remains in the local economy. Sweeney describes local businesses as “the backbone of the community”. When you spend your money locally, you are supporting the people who live next door, the people who know your name!

And so with all of this in mind back to my challenge- Christmas shopping on a budget downtown. I found so very many items for $20 or less that I finally stopped looking. I have provided some pictures and ideas here for you as well as a list of most of  our downtown stores. I encourage you to take this challenge and come down and see how much is available- from $3 stocking stuffers in The Clothes Rack to $10 gloves in Fringe Benefit: from a selection of books and coloring books in Mish Mish to all of your Hokie needs in High Peak Sportswear, Tech Bookstore, Campus Emporium or Bookholders: from beautiful works of arts and crafts in Matrix Gallery or Burnt Creative to cell phone accessories in Wireless Zone: from cool Kitchen accessories in Gourmet Pantry to all your gardening needs in Heavener Hardware. So many great gifts under $20 each, and in many cases, under $10 available in downtown Blacksburg! And if you are still not sure what would be the absolute best gift for your teacher/ boss/wife/friend/co-worker you can always get Downtown Gift Certificates  sold in $5 or $20 denominations at the National Bank of Blacksburg on Roanoke Street. They can be redeemed in more than 60 downtown businesses allowing the recipient to choose exactly where they want to spend their $$’s!

So come on downtown and take the challenge- get your Christmas gifts for $20 or less, you’ll be surprised how much fun you’ll have during your shopping local experience!
Happy Shopping!

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310 Rosemont
208 N. Main St.
540-961-5326
A boutique for men and ladies!
Alligator Alley
401 S. Main St.
540-552-4287
Men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, featuring Lacoste, Barbour, Berle, Vineyard Vines, Sperry, Lilly Pulitzer, and Eliza B. See ya later, Alligator!
Beaux Arts Galleria
105 E. Roanoke St.
540-443-0003
Mid-20th Century home furnishings, vintage lighting products and museum-quality home decorations from around the world.
Bike Barn
424 N. Main St.
540-443-3323
Bike Barn offers bicycle sales and service in the New River Valley. Bike Barn is a drop off point for tubes, tires and metal bike parts for recycling!
Blacksburg Pipe & Tobacco
408 N.Main St
540-951-8457
Our mission is to provide our customers with an enjoyable experience and the finest tobaccos available. We carry some of the finest cigars in the world.
Bookholders.com
125 N. Main St.
540-808-4481
BookHolders.com buys/sells used college/general books & new apparel.
Burnt Creative Boutique
320 N.Main St
540-230-7550
Specializing in regional handcrafts, fair trade goods, and carefully selected vintage finds.
Campus Emporium
207 N. Main St.
540-552-1051
YOUR ONE STOP HOKIE SHOP for gifts, clothing and merchandise
Capone’s Fine Jewelry
101 N. Main St.
540-953-1000
Custom designs which incorporate only the highest quality gems, stones and metals.
Clothes Rack
105 N. Main St.
540-552-8147
A wide selection of college apartment essential tapestries, handicrafts and eco-conscious clothing reminiscent of the 60’s.
Eats Natural Foods
708A N. Main St.
540-552-2279
Blacksburg’s premier natural foods store offering a wide selection of organic, natural and gourmet foods; wine and beer brewing supplies, supplements, and body care products.
Eucalyptus Massage Therapy
201 S. Main St.
540-552- CALM
We look forward to working with you, and encourage you to start getting healthier with massage therapy! Also selling jewelry and artworks
Fringe Benefit
117 N. Main St.
540-951-9777
Women’s Fashion, gifts and jewelry with Ten Thousand Villages located inside!
Gourmet Pantry
401 S. Main St.
540-951-1995
Everything kitchen and more! Sign up now for Cooking Classes- visit the website for details.
Greenhouse Boardshop
203 College Ave.
540-552-3872
Professionally serving the needs of people who ride skateboards and snowboards.
Heavener Hardware & Lumber
801 Kabrich St.
540-552-1221
Lumber, rentals and so much more for those projects around the home and garden.
Heirloom Originals
609 North Main Street
552-9241
Antiques,gifts and originals on North Main. Stop in and see us!
High Peak Sportswear
209 College Ave.
540-953-1293
Your best source for t-shirts, golf shirts, hats, and all types of imprinted apparel and gift items!
John’s Camera Corner & Gentry Studio
213 Draper Rd.
540-552-2319
Views of Historical Blacksburg on display and for sale. Buy Blacksburg postcards and all of your camera needs in the heart of the downtown.
Kent Jewelers
210 S. Main St.
540-552-3241
Your diamond source
LaLac Boutique
208 A North Main St.,
540-552-0070
An accessories boutique that offers a variety of fashion forward jewelry, scarves, hats, purses, sunglasses, stockings, belts and more. It is our mission to bring our customers the the latest trends in a friendly, comfortable environment
Mad Dog
109 N. Main St.
540-961-4038
Mad Dog offers clothing, accessories, and home goods for all styles.
Matrix Gallery
115 N. Main St.
540-951-3566
Quality handmade American crafts….beautiful, functional & fun!
Mish Mish
125 N. Main St.
540-552-1020
Providing the Best in Supplies to Those Who Create Since 1970.
Nice Dreams
115-B North Main St
540-552-4733
Gifts, novelties and tobacco
polished by claire v.
101 South Main St
1540-342-5895
We offer highly indulgent manicures, pedicures, and spa services at a fabulous price, in a memorable setting! Also selling purses and Bare Minerals products.
Tech Bookstore
118 S. Main St.
540-552-6444
Tech Bookstore is your place for Virginia Tech textbooks, gear and supplies. Buy or sell used and new textbooks, find official Virginia Tech gear, and purchase software and gifts.
Wireless Zone
304 N. Main St.
540-961-4200
Your Local Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer in Downtown Blacksburg since 2002. Also selling XM Radio.
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Happy Holidays in Downtown Blacksburg!

4 Dec christmas-story1

Ken_Julia1 TubaChristmas 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Need more Tuba………….to participate in the 4th annual Downtown Blacksburg TubaChristmas!
TUBACHRISTMAS events are presented throughout the world. TUBACHRISTMAS was conceived in 1974 as a tribute to the late artist/teacher William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day, 1902. Through the legendary William J. Bell we reflect on our heritage and honor all great artists/teachers whose legacy has given us high performance standards, well structured pedagogy, professional integrity, personal values and a camaraderie envied by all other instrumentalists. The first TUBACHRISTMAS was conducted by the late Paul Lavalle in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink on Sunday, December 22, 1974.
TubaChristmas in Blacksburg is sponsored and presented by Downtown Blacksburg Inc and the Department of Music at Virginia Tech.

BLACKSBURG – FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7 – TIME: 6:00 pm
LOCATION: Blacksburg Farmers Market Square
REGISTRATION: 3:00 pm, Virginia Tech., Department of Music, Squires room 243
REHEARSAL: 4:00 pm, same
PARKING: Kent Square garage, 207 Draper Rd.
CONDUCTOR: Dr. Dave Ball
COORDINATOR: Elizabeth Crone 540-998-5972

For more information or to sign up to play in TubaChristmas please contact Elizabeth Crone at ecrone@vt.edu

Winter Lights Festival

Friday, December 7, 2012

Downtown Merchants annual Open House- 4-8pm, late night shopping, free gift wrap, snacks and beverages, holiday specials.
Deo Gloria will stroll through the stores and streets caroling as they go!
4:00-7:00pm Holiday Gift Market, with free hot chocolate and hot cider from DBI & more in Market Square Park
4:00- 5:30pm- Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus at The Lyric (bring your own camera)
5:00pm Caroling with Blacksburg Children’s Master Chorale in Market Square Park
5:30pm Tree lighting with music from the Blacksburg Children’s Master Chorale on Henderson Lawn
6:00pm TubaChristmas in Market Square Park.Co-sponsored by the Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. and the Department of Music at Virginia Tech
7:00pm Holiday Parade co-sponsored by Blacksburg Parks & Recreation Department &Virginia Tech Chapter of Circle K

Holiday Gift Market Vendors:
Deo_Gloria
The Green Market – fresh produce and preserves
Birdsong Farm – beeswax candles, soaps, etc.
Mystic River – lavender products
Greenstar Farm – fresh produce, vintage jewelry
Beyond Homemade – baked goods
Little Blue Woman – candles
Honeywood – wooden bowls, etc.
Sterling Bridge Dairy – cheese
Cavalier Farms – produce, preserves, eggs, meat
Buckeye Mountain Forge – ironware
Les Delectables – baked goods
Under the Green Umbrella – baked goods, salsas, cider and lemonade
Friends of the Farmers Market – market t-shirts, posters, aprons
Jen Richter & Jenny Huffman-Christmas cards, art prints, handmade books, some original paintings
Alexander Black House- Holiday cards & ornaments.
Kourtney Hunter – fresh Christmas wreaths
Spangler Family Farm – popping corn (in gift bags – unpopped)

Eucalyptus Massage Therapy Art Show & Open House

Friday December 7th, 4-8pm
Come meet George Wills, featured artist, and the staff of Eucalyptus!
We now have custom therapeutic jewelry
for anxiety and stress reduction and locally crafted gifts!
Holiday Gift Certificates Online or during desk hours!

An Artful Open House

In The Artful Lawyer, at The Creekmore Law Firm
Friday Dec 7, 4-6:30pm
With the sounds of Deo Gloria in your ears, and the anticipation of another Tuba Christmas and parade in your heart, add some artful cheer to your evening with us! We will have new art on the walls, from artists who showed with us over the past year to a preview of artists to come in 2013. Christmas cookies and drinks will be served as we gather together before the tree lighting as well. All are welcome!

Downtown Blacksburg, Inc & The Lyric Theatre invite you to a FREE movie

“A Christmas Story”26-Leg-lamp-christmas-story

December 8- 3pm
Santa and Mrs Claus will be available for pictures following the movie in the lobby. Bring your own camera.
Happy Holidays from
Downtown Blacksburg, Inc.& the Lyric Theatre

Main Street Inn- Holiday Open House December 9

Please come and enjoy Main Street Inn ‘s warm and festive Holiday setting. The Holidays bring out the best in all so please have a seat in our welcoming lobby and warm yourself with the crackling fireplace. We will be serving hot cider with cinnamon sticks and freshly baked holiday cookies. We will offer tours of our accommodations and an overabundance of holiday spirit. “Make a Night of It” when you visit Main Street Inn on Sunday, December 9 for the VICCC Holiday Open House Tour and receive 15% off your stay. We look forward to hosting you this holiday season!

Nest Realty – Holiday Open House December 9

We are participating in the 3rd annual Holiday Open House Tour to benefit the Valley Interfaith Childcare Center on December 9 from 1-5pm. Join us for an afternoon of holiday cheer as you tour homes, gardens and businesses in Blacksburg. Nest Realty will be hosting a gingerbread house decorating contest and the decorated houses will be on display for guests to view and vote on their favorite during the tour. The entry fee is $10 and you will receive a pre-made gingerbread house to decorate as you choose! The winner will receive lots of accolades as well as a donation made in their name to VICCC. Come by Nest today to get your gingerbread house or contact Tina Merritt and she will have one delivered to you. 540-440-1678 tina@nestrealtygroup.com. Get your creativity on and support VICCC! You can also purchase tour tickets in advance at Nest Realty, 400 N. Main St.

Special Holiday Shopping Nights

Dec 13- 4-8pm- Ladies Night
Dec 20- 4-8pm- Gents Night
Including free gift wrap, personal shopping assistance, wish list creation,special discounts, refreshments and so much more.

christmas-story1

A Downtown Blacksburg Paradox Turns 40

12 Mar

When I turned 40 (I won’t tell you how many years ago), I understood firsthand why, for a time, it was known as “The New 30″ (I’ve recently heard that that distinction now belongs to 60). It was liberating and empowering in ways I never imagined. I was comfortable and confident in my own skin. Like so many other invincible women before me, I never dreamed getting older could have so many wonderful fringe benefits. It seems a fitting paradox, then, that Fringe Benefit joins rank as it celebrates its own 40th birthday on March 18th.

Keeping up with the times

The Downtown Blacksburg women’s fashions’ mainstay has come into its rightful own in the capable hands and devoted heart of its endearing shop owner, Nancyne Willoughby, for the past 25 of those years.

“The original owner, Beverly Patterson, opened it as a natural fiber clothing store to combat the evil polyester of the ’70s,” Willoughby reveals.  “I thought the store needed a local owner after Beverly moved to Austin (Texas), so I wrote her a letter asking if she would sell the shop,” she divulges.  Two years later, Patterson conceded, and Willoughby bought the shop, as well as the name in September 1987 with then business partner, Judy Murray, who moved on in 1997 and now lives in Mexico.

“I shopped in the store while I was in college and enjoyed it. I never left Blacksburg after graduation,” says the arts-major-turned-shop-owner.  “We gave it a facelift and some love and expanded our market beyond students into locals and professionals.  We focus on personal service, and the store has evolved to keep up with the times,” according to the successful businesswoman, who knows every customer by name.

An Affinity for Giving

Every shopper gets 20% off on their birthday along with a Frequent Buyer Program, which has been a signature promotion for the past 16 years.  The loyalty incentive automatically entitles customers to 15% off every purchase beyond the first $350 through the following Labor Day, culminating in an annual end-of-summer, holiday-themed sale.

A Move in the Right Direction

In June 2004, Willoughby moved the shop from its original location on College Avenue, now home to Hokie Spokes, to its current location at 117 North Main Street between Matrix Gallery and Homebody.

“We more than doubled in size, increasing the space from 900 square feet to just over 2100,” she says.  “It was scary, because I had such a bigger space to fill,” she confides, “but I ended up overfilling it.”

Some of that additional space was filled with brand extensions like Ten Thousand Villages and Dansko shoes, which she has carried since 2004 and 2007, respectively, along with her most popular lines Cut Loose, Click, Habitat, Jag Jeans, Pure, Neon Buddah  “tons of accessories”, and a lot of stuff made in the U. S.

“I pick up new lines each season,” she adds, without being forced into playing favorites.  “I don’t know that I have one,” she says, genuinely torn. “It’s hard to decide.  I like a little bit of everything.  There’s something for everyone with jewelry from $10-150 and clothing prices that range from moderate to ‘up’.”

Stop by and check out the Spring 2012 collections, which feature a lot of green, perfectly coordinated with the shop’s day-after-St. Patrick’s Day 40th birthday.  While you’re there, check out David Nickerson’s original miniature, depicting Fringe Benefit’s place in Downtown Blacksburg’s history, on display behind the counter.

Help Make Fringe Benefit’s Birthday Wish Come True!

Looking for the perfect thing to get Fringe Benefit for its 40th birthday?  Lots and lots of likes on its Facebook page, which you can do by clicking here.  It only takes a minute and won’t cost a thing but will go a long way toward poising the shop for many years of continued success.

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A Downtown Blacksburg Original in Every Sense of the Word

1 Mar

Post written by Karen Quina Doyle

The first thing Martha Heiskell made me do was promise not to tell her age.  She did, however, tell me it was okay to say that she was born in Blacksburg in the ’20s.  You do the math.  Either way, her age doesn’t matter, except to say that she is the very essence of refined grace, impeccable character, and endless charm that only women of a certain age and era possess and embody.  It has served her well: she is celebrating 44 years as the proprietor of Downtown Blacksburg’s bedrock antiques shop, Heirloom Originals.

If These Walls Could Talk

Heirloom Originals is more like a living museum than a business and Martha its worthy curator.  She inherited the house, in which the shop is based, from her maternal grandmother in 1940.  It was built in 1872, the same year neighboring Virginia Tech opened.

Martha took me through Downtown Blacksburg’s modest beginnings over a laminated vintage photograph she pulled from a drawer.

“Blacksburg’s town limit ended at Main and Giles Road.  It was all open farmland with woods full of walnut trees,” she recalled fondly, as she pointed to a spot on the picture just west of the house. “People would go to Mr. Reynolds’ Lumber Yard, which was next door to the shop in the ‘20s.  They would pick up logs to take over to Mr. W. E. Broce’s planing mill on what is now Progress Street, so they could make a fine piece of furniture,” she continued. “Coal from the local mines would be taken by horse and wagons to heat the buildings at Tech,” she went on, recalling every detail of the carefully preserved photograph.

For many years, the little house was rented for forty dollars per month, with a fireplace in each room for heat and no indoor plumbing until the late twenties.

In 1917, Paul Derring, for whom Derring Hall was named, arrived at Tech to work with student programs.  Blind from the age of 13, he met Katie Cook, who was living in the house at the time with her parents and her sister Mary.  Katie began helping him with his correspondence, and the two fell in love and were married in 1921.  Several years later, Paul became Blacksburg’s first YMCA director, a position he held until his retirement in 1966.

After renting the house to several other families, Martha decided to convert the house into an antique shop in 1964.

“I’ve always appreciated the arts in its many forms ~ art, art history, beautiful objects ~ whether made by a person or by God’s own hands,” she shared as the inspiration behind her decision to go into antiques after an early, beloved career as a second-grade school teacher, first at Blacksburg Elementary and then later in the sixties at Gilbert Linkous Elementary. “I don’t know why anyone would want plastic when they could have something of lasting value and beauty to leave as an heirloom to their children,” she wondered. “I have customers come in all the time fondly recalling things like ‘My grandmother bought me the cutest little tea set from here when I was a little girl’. It makes me very humble…and very happy.”

Having lost her mother at the age of 49 and her father three months later at 57, Margaret J. Beeks, who was not only Martha’s 7th grade teacher but also the first principal for whom she worked during her time with the Montgomery County School System after graduating from Tech in 1948, became like a mother to Martha and a grandmother to her three children.

It was Miss Beeks who inspired Martha through art.  “I lived for Miss Beeks’ art class.  She opened the doors to the whole world for me there.  She had traveled a lot,” Martha remembers. “One day, we were painting the Nile and ran out of cobalt paint, so Miss Beeks sent me down to Mr. Brown’s hardware store to pick up a little tube,” she reminisced, before being unfairly scolded for not getting the right color.  “That nearly broke my heart,” she said, remembering how it felt to be wrongfully reprimanded by the teacher she worshiped.

“When I opened my shop, there she stood on the porch with this gift,” she lovingly recalls, showing me the wreath Miss Beeks made for her as a shopwarming gift with moss she had collected from the shoals of South Carolina. “It has hung on this door for 44 years.”

A Prized Collection

Today, the shop is brimming with something for everyone: china, porcelains, ceramics, art pottery.  Cut glass from the Brilliant Period (1890-1915) takes up nearly an entire room; pieces made out of Martha’s favorite woods, walnut and cherry, here and there.

“To qualify as an antique, a piece must be at least 100 years old, but there are many items in here that go back to the mid-1800’s,” she attests.

Her oldest piece?  A Canton platter from the 1700s with what they deciphered to be a Chinese Export Armorial Crest, circa 1785.  The back of the piece bears what look like one-inch-wide brass staples along the spines of several primitive cracks — distinguishing mending methods that were employed through 1838.  Though the piece is not for sale, Martha takes delight in relating a story about two men who came in looking for Jim Beam memorabilia. “No Jim Beam bottles, but isn’t my platter gorgeous?” she offered instead, before overhearing each of them asking the other how she would ever sell that broken platter as they made their way out the door.  “I didn’t even have time to tell them that it was not for resale,” she knowingly confides.

“Let me show you my little Charlie in here,” she insisted, ushering me into another room. “He’s so wonderful.”

“Charlie” was the pet name given to the little boy whose likeness appeared in a painting she had acquired from the Bailey estate of Charleston, West Virginia, the forebears of which included an attorney general and several generations of judges. “Look at that little hat.  He’s so cute!” she mused, with the kind of genuine affection usually assigned to doting grandmothers.  “I think it’s sad that portraits get separated from their families over time.”

A collection of handsomely displayed teacups holds another story still.  “I sold each one of these teacups to a gentleman who bought them for his wife’s birthday and Christmas year after year.  When she passed, he asked me if I would like them back, all sixty-six,” she remembers. “Many items in the shop have come back a second and third time.  I love it more than the day I first opened the door, so many memories.”

Martha cares for her inventory nearly as much as she cares for her customers — which is to say, a lot.  She knows the detail of her stock down to the very last toothpick holder; she keeps a careful inventory, copied in her own hand, of every item in a red ledger I was lucky enough to see.

“I don’t consider this a store,” she confides. “This is where my friends come to visit.”

Having spent the afternoon with her, I understood the attraction.  The proper woman, with a clear abiding faith and the warmth and congeniality of a dear friend, had won me over, too.  Stop in the next time you’re passing by her Heirloom Originals shop on Main Street, and let her do the same for you.
Heirloom Originals is conveniently located at 609 North Main Street, next door to Castle’s Kettle and Pub. See you there!

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