New shops open in Front Royal

Bonnie Hart stocks mugs on the shelves of her new store, The Grace Place Shop, which is located on East Main Street in Front Royal. The Christian-based gift shop is one of several new businesses cropping up along Main Street. Rich Cooley/Daily

Over the last several months, new and established businesses have been cropping up along Main Street in Front Royal’s historic downtown area.

Jennifer McDonald, executive director of the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority, said the diversity of shops opening is a good thing for visitors.

“We’re getting a lot of different businesses that offer a variety of items,” McDonald said, citing the recently opened B and G Goods as well as C and C Frozen Treats.

“You have different options to go into these shops, and you’re not just going down there for one thing. You have multiple reasons to go to Main Street,” she said.

Craig Laird, owner of Royal Oak Computers for 25 years, completed the purchase of Shenandoah Confections on July 6, which was opened in 2013 by Sheron Smith.

“This was a business that was going to close, and we looked at it and said, ‘we need this viable business on Main Street,” Laird said.

Laird would not say how much he purchased the business for, but he noted that he is in the process of hiring staff and management for the store’s grand re-opening in August.

“Since I already own [Royal Oak Computers], I want to make this a viable business … and then probably turn it over to someone else,” Laird explained.

He said that Shenandoah Confection brings “another niche type of business that complements the other niche businesses and boutiques that are on Main Street.”

He added that they will be looking to complement the shop’s line of chocolate and gift items with suggestions he has heard from residents and tourists alike.

“We had one [tourist] that wanted lemonade this past weekend, because it was so hot,” Laird noted.

Laird said he hopes to have consistent hours set for the shop moving forward, noting a time frame of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. as a possibility.

Along with stable hours, Laird stressed that marketing is going to be a key factor in making Shenandoah Confections a viable business in the future.

He said he wants to reach out to businesses along Main Street for a possible co-opertive marketing effort among the shops.

“It gives that extra marketing that you don’t get just by advertising on your own,” Laird said.

Another business that has moved downtown is the Christian-based gift shop called The Grace Place Shop, with is owned by Bonnie Hart, a Front Royal transplant from Montgomery County, Maryland.

“I feel like there’s a revitalization on Main Street,” Hart said. “I think that we’ve got real potential to make it a huge destination area.”

With this shop, Hart and her husband, Ray Hart, will sell a wide variety of items from a diverse collection of CDs, paintings and books to Bible in different languages.

“I think we’ve got a little bit of something for everybody,” Hart said.

They are also looking to promote gatherings by having an area for children to play in as well as a lounge area for adult shoppers.

Bonnie Hart said her goal with the business, located at 201 E. Main St., is to open a Christian-based store that is open to anyone and everyone who wants to shop there.

“I want them to feel comfortable … and I just want that warm, loving feeling of being accepted no matter what race, creed … or denomination you are,” Hart explained.

More information on The Grace Place can be found at: http://bit.ly/1gCvito.

Updates on Shenandoah Confections can be found on the shop’s Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1fK0FlE.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com