By Michelle Baker
If you want to take advantage of spring weather and spring sales, Marshall’s Main Street is the place to be the first weekend in April. Named “The Great Historic Marshall Spring Sidewalk Sale,” the event’s title is proving to be prophetic, with more than 15 business owners banding together to offer incredible deals on all things esthetic and domestic beginning April 5.
However, the bigger picture is how this group of small-town businesses is working together to roll out the red carpet to area shoppers. Daniel Moore, the owner of Daniel J. Moore Design and his office manager, Tara Jelenic, had planned to do some spring cleaning and move surplus accessories to the front of the West Main Street shop in Marshall this month, but those plans changed. “I mentioned it to Mauren at My Atelier, and she said she was getting ready to put some fabric remnants out but would wait and do it with us. That’s when I thought ‘Hm, I wonder if anyone else is interested…’ so I walked next door to see Candy at Flying Heron, and Gina from Joan of Art walked in while I was there and they both hopped on board,” said Moore.
“Dan is a client of mine and I mentioned to him that I had been planning on doing a warehouse sale as part of my drapery workroom’s spring cleaning. Since he was also planning a sidewalk sale, I was thrilled to join forces to combine our efforts into a larger event for the entire community,” said Mauren Jones Pereira, the owner and operator of My Atelier, at 8343 West Main.
“The most exciting thing for me about events like the sidewalk sale is the opportunity to draw designers from as far away as DC to our town to patronize all of our local home decor businesses. It’s pretty unusual to have such a strong network of skilled artists, artisans, and retailers in one place that cater to one industry, so it benefits all of us to join forces to amplify our efforts to bring business to Marshall,” added Pereira. Candida “Candy” Verrilli, founder and owner of the Flying Heron Herbs Spices & Tea shop at 8383 Main St., Marshall, sees this sale as an opportunity to introduce people to not only the businesses but the local flavor.
“Businesses here in Marshall take a personal touch with every person that walks thru their door. You will see that people are actually happy doing their ‘jobs,’ they like to engage with their customers and they love to promote other businesses.” “I sincerely hope that people walk away feeling grateful that they stopped by our little town because they were treated special and with appreciation,” said Verrilli. “When I first opened my shop in May of last year, Dan was one of the first shop keepers to come see what I was all about and gave great words of encouragement.”
“So, when he jumped over to my shop the other day talking about a sidewalk sale, his enthusiasm was instantly contagious, and I didn’t hesitate to say count me in,” she added. The idea of a sidewalk sale quickly picked up speed. A few weeks after the initial conversations, 15 businesses agreed to participate in the weekend event. Literally every home furnishing, antique and gift business on and around Main is participating, even restaurants and markets joined.
A brochure with a map is on the Facebook event page and will be available at all participating locations. Promoting small businesses is crucial to the economy. Small business retailers account for one in four jobs in the United States. Outside circumstances, from weather, to the economy, to government shutdowns, can have a huge impact on the bottom line. “I think this has been a hard winter for many of us (personally and professionally), but my shop (with the support of many regional publications including Middleburg Life) has had an amazing late winter and I am just feeling like spreading the wealth,” said Moore.
“We’re all so ready for the spring and some sunshine, it was almost like striking a match,” said Moore. “It doesn’t do any of us any good to leave anyone behind, especially when many of us are owner operated. We’ve made investments in this community and can’t afford to have vacancies next door, and with this kind of energy there is no reason for us to.” The businesses will be looking for ways to collaborate more in the future. “We’re already talking about next time and needing a committee and involving all the businesses, and I’m working with a couple places to help them update their Google listings and websites,” said Moore.
The sidewalk sale offers an opportunity to introduce people to Marshall. “My shop is wholesale-only the rest of the year, and since I’ve opened here in Marshall, I know there’s been a lot of curiosity about what we do here. I’ve wanted to do some kind of event, so the community can not only make use of beautiful materials that would otherwise sit in my warehouse, but also get a chance to see our shop and meet other local crafters,” said Pereira.
“It’s also a great event for me to entice my clients from as far away as D.C., Alexandria, Leesburg, and even Charlottesville to make the trip to see for themselves why I’ve been raving about my company’s new home.” The businesses want people to know there is a lot of energy here. I’m always hashtagging #strengthinnumbers. There is room for all of us and when we can collaborate in a really joyous way like this, it benefits us all,” said Moore.
“Great things are happening here, and they can be a part of it by visiting and patronizing our small businesses, or even by being inspired to take stock and open their own business here – there is still room,” said Moore. “I’d love to see a clothing store, and maybe a jewelry store. Plus, we have awesome and unique markets and eateries.” During the sale, some businesses are partnering with neighboring shops. For example, Cakes by Miriam is collaborating with Bella Villa. Between Field & Main, Red Truck Bakery, The Whole Ox, Johnny Monarchs, and Gentle Harvest, so there is plenty of reason to visit the area in anyone of them alone.
Don’t forget there are at least 27 wineries in Fauquier County – Marshall serves as the gateway to Virginia’s wine country. Marshall’s Main Street is going to be the quintessential snapshot of small-town life for a very long time. It’s simple and quiet but full of fun. Not only do shop owners want people to take away bags of goodies, but Verrilli said she wants people to go home with smiles on their faces and warmth in their hearts. A lucky person may just come away with a job, too.
“I’m always on the lookout for new stitchers to hire, so this is a great opportunity for me to meet other people who might be interested in working at my shop,” said Pereira. “We’d love for it to become annual and to expand. It’s caught on like wildfire all by itself already,” said Moore.
The Great Historic Marshall Spring
Sidewalk Sale partners include:
Bella Villa Antiques & Vintage Rentals
Big Dog Pots Pottery
Bunting & Nadler Gallery
David’s Oriental Rugs
Domestic Aspirations Fine Home Furnishings
Flying Heron Herbs Spices & Teas
Joan of Art Custom Picture Framing
Marshall Antique Tag Sale
Middleburg Humane Foundation Resale Boutique
3 Hen’s Treasures
This article first appeared in the April 2019 issue of Middleburg Life.