Letter: Stonyman wants to stay

Last week’s article reported that Stonyman Gourmet Farmer declined to exercise its right of first refusal to purchase the mercantile and gardens it has occupied since 2008. We would like provide clarification. Upon learning that the property might become available for sale, Stonyman Gourmet Farmer expressed interest in purchasing it.

When we heard that the property might be subdivided so that the Inn at Little Washington could take ownership of the gardens adjacent to its Clopton House acquisition, Stonyman Gourmet Farmer expressed complete cooperation. As the iconic Inn is the premier enterprise in our town and county, it makes perfect sense that the handsome, new property enjoy pride of place.

However, we stated our desire to purchase the property in whole or in part to allow Stonyman to maintain its business in the mercantile while the Inn acquired the gardens.

To underscore the seriousness or our intent and to prove financial capacity, we placed cash in the local bank to cover the full purchase price with an ample contingency margin. Those funds remain in place and are still available to purchase the property.

Stonyman Gourmet Farmer has conducted business continuously at the mercantile since 2008. We have played an active part in the community, contributing to local charitable events, hosting community activities and bringing visitors to Rappahannock County and the Town of Washington. We maintained this activity through the recent economic downturn, choosing to invest our time and resources in helping to support and grow our community. With a full calendar of events and ongoing business development, we are serious about our interest in continuing to do business at this location.

We have been working quietly behind the scenes to resolve this property issue to the satisfaction of all parties, but feel this major article on Washington’s future required a response. We did express interest in buying the property, and we continue to be interested. Unfortunately, we were told that it would be sold to someone else and we could not buy it. As one of the town’s emeritus citizens recently observed, “I hope they’ll let you stay!” We hope so too.

Alan and Susan James
Stonyman Gourmet Farmer

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