The talk of the town inNew Market
is the return of a restaurant many consider the anchor of the town's retail main street.
Patrick Forest and Lorraina Hull are working to open Mealey's Table at 8 W. Main St.
The two were applauded at the recent town meeting. To say reactions from town officials and business owners are positive would be an understatement.
Ben Madrid, owner of Santa Fe Trading Co., said once Mealey's reopens, it will show other businesses how desirable it is to locate in New Market.
Mayor Winslow Burhans III said the town first considered removing the restriction that only antique shops were allowed in the historic area of the town in 2003. A"complete rewrite" that allowed a variety of businesseswas approved in 2009, he said.
The double blow of the stalled economy and the closing of the restaurant for about two years has left many vacant storefronts.
Thomas Morris, owner of Mom's Pizza, a carryout-only business, said people who came to Mealey's to eat would walk around town, look at the shops and even stop at his place for ice cream.
Linda Spoales, a member of the town's planning commission, said when she first moved to New Market, her first meal was Easter brunch at Mealey's.
"I plan to eat Easter brunch when they reopen," Spoales said.
-- Ed Waters Jr.
Stores lose furniture
Both locations stopped selling furniture and started offering more home decor items, according to business owner Sherri Audette Johnson.
The decision to stop selling furniture in the stores came after Johnson noticed customers buying similar pieces online for cheaper prices.
"We were having trouble competing with the Internet," she said.
Before it was snipped from Johnson's business plan, Retro Metro sold living and dining room furniture to customers on the spot.
Now, only one or two pieces remain between the two locations, according to Johnson, who said it took several months to liquidate leftover inventory. Retro Metro stores will continue to carry an eclectic mix of gifts, children's items and home goods.
"Something that we really concentrate on is keeping our inventory fresh all the time," she said.
The shop was recently named "Best Cool Store" by Frederick Magazine. Johnson also owns The Hive in Mount Airy. The shop recently added Vera Bradley handbags to its offerings. The fabric bags feature colorful quilted patterns.
Retro Metro is at 116 South Main St. in Mount Airy and 213 N. Market St. in Frederick.
-- Cara R. Anthony