Sperryville column for March 28

Signs of growth, if not spring

Dick McNear of Old Hollow, formerly a planner with Fauquier County, has bought the former Attic Treasures building at Old Hollow Road and U.S. 211 and begun comprehensive renovations. Most of the interior walls and floors have been removed for replacement. Admitting it is premature to describe tenants before leases are signed, McNear said he hopes there will be three tenants – two inside and a third operating a nursery outside. He expressed a preference for serving soft-serve ice cream.

At the Sperryville Schoohouse, Cliff Miller IV’s renovations at what will become the Schoolmaster’s Pub are well underway. With a pending ABC license application, the anticipated opening of business is late April. Knit Wit Yarn Shop has also expanded its space at the Schoolhouse, roughly doubling its size. Accompanied by my Akita-Labrador cross Kaya in February, I had the pleasant discovery that both Knit Wit and Coterie are dog-friendly businesses.

At the Corner Store/Thornton River Grille/Rudy’s Pizza, I caught up with Andy Thompson recently. Andy is a big fan of craft breweries and their wares, and sometimes offers a beer or wine tasting on Friday afternoons. All the businesses seem healthy, the parking lot is full on weekends and once again, everyone is friendly, with the usual weekend mix of hikers buying up chocolate and ice cream, locals perusing the groceries and the delicious smell of Tom Nash’s steaks wafting through the heart of town.

Sadly, the Rappahannock Timber Frame location at 36 Main Street closed in the fall. Bill Christian and his mother, Ann Bellomy, were a pleasure to do business with and an asset to the community. They provided traditional wood post-and-beam framing packages for buildings, with the mortise and tenon joinery made popular by the Shakers and Amish. The building’s appearance and logo are one of the more attractive in town.

Industry abounds as one heads west of town, with roofs being replaced on the Sperryville Cottages. Next door, at the Glassworks Gallery, a vibrant, well-lit space with the color of local art present in every direction, it is the slow point of the season. Master glassblower Eric Kvarnes expressed eagerness to see spring open with its promise of new opportunities and will be offering glassblowing classes as the weather warms.

Across the street, in the space formerly occupied by the Blue Moon and the Coyote Cafe, a new business has emerged, MTO Kombucha, which will provide a tea made from the kombucha mushroom, heralded for its healing and regenerative qualities. MTO Kombucha is a Virginia-based business with local franchises. Fascinating as a live product, the tea is available in an array of flavors from spices, fruits and berries, to ginger, vanilla, mint and original.

Trey and Ryder Williams run the business and provide wholesale and retail sales on-site. They are working with a number of local businesses that stock their products, including the Corner Store and Stonewall Abbey Yoga. One bonus service they offer is personalized labels on the products prepared for wholesale. They will be presenting their products at a tasting booth at the Tom Tom Founders Festival in Charlottesville April 11-14. In Sperryville, the kitchen is open 10 to 4 Monday-Saturday.

– Greg Hunsaker

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