June 1, 2017
Another gourmet food store opens in Marshall
Photos/Don Del Rosso
“I’m very impressed with the enthusiasm people have here,” shop owner Gail Reardon says. ”They have been very welcoming.”
Carol and Thomas Rose, who live near Marshall, browse Sunday at Merry Moo.
This is an expression of my personality — to have all of these good things, these quality things.
— Gail Reardon, Merry Moo co-owner
For the Flint Hill merchant, moving her gourmet food and wine shop from Rappahannock County to Marshall’s Main Street proved an easy call.
“It’s busier,” Merry Moo Market co-owner Gail Reardon said of the Northern Fauquier village. “Rappahannock is a very quiet, sleepy place.”
Relocating Merry Moo also made sense because of Fauquier strong “demographics” and because many of her customers had passed through the village on their way to the store in Flint Hill.
“I had a lot weekenders come out from the city who would come through Marshall,” Ms. Reardon said. “And I figured I might as well join them all up here.”
Plus, rent for the newly remodeled 950-square-foot storefront at 8348 Main St. fit her budget, though she declined to discuss the lease agreement details.
Ms. Reardon opened Merry Moo in Marshall about five weeks ago.
So far, “the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “I’m very impressed with the enthusiasm people have here. They have been very welcoming.”
While the store offers a range of products, Merry Moo’s seafood selection distinguishes it from other Marshall food purveyors, she said.
“It all comes in fresh” on Wednesday and Friday, Ms. Reardon said. “I have a selection of over 70 items to choose from — whatever they want. That’s the niche I’ve created.”
In the last two years, Gentle Harvest, The Whole Ox and Red Truck Bakery have opened on Marshall’s Main Street.
She intends to “complement," not "compete" with the other stores, Ms. Reardon said.
Besides seafood, the new store features wines, meats, fresh vegetables, freshly-made pasta and soups, organic bread and dairy products, 20 to 30 cheeses and all the ingredients needed to prepare a complete meal, including dessert, she said.
“This is an expression of my personality — to have all of these good things, these quality things,” Ms. Reardon said of the store, which provides indoor and patio seating for about eight people.
Ms. Reardon started the store in a roundabout way.
With a commitment to producing healthful food, the Rappahannock resident in 2008 began raising yearling calves to “finish my way,” after which she sold beef to local customers.
“No antibiotics, no hormones,” said Ms. Reardon, who also sells residential property through Sotheby’s International office in Leesburg.
Before long, “people kept asking me if I’d have a store and sell other products. I kept saying ‘No. Impossible.’ And then I just decided to do it. The whole point was to have healthy food, a variety of food. Have fun stuff, like pheasant, duck, quail — as well as healthy beef.”
Ms. Reardon seven years ago opened Merry Moo in a 1,500-square-foot storefront along Route 522 in Flint Hill.
A black Angus named Sparky, which she dubbed “the merry moo, the happy cow,” provided the inspiration for the store’s name.
“Sparky was the happiest little steer I could ever imagine,” Ms. Reardon said of the first cow she owned. “He was my pet for a while. I had him slaughtered, and I sold him to the Corner Store in Sperryville. I was doing this with other cattle. His time came.”
Ms. Reardon eventually ceased the cattle operation to focus on the store and real estate sales.
Visiting Merry Moo for the first time Sunday, Leslie and Spencer Macli, who live in Marshall, believe the store will be a “great addition” to Main Street.
“It’s nice to see these little shops opening,” said Mrs. Macli, a 35-year-old freelance television producer. “My husband loves to cook, and so it’s nice to have sort of a nice selection of things. We’re definitely going to come back.”
“I like the seafood niche, which is different,” said Mr. Macli, a 34-year-old marketing and advertising consultant. “Everything here is usually about the farm. I think it’s smart. I’m sure it’ll become a local favorite.”
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Miss B · June 1, 2017 at 4:24 pm
That's exciting! I'll have to come check it out. Good luck at the new location!!
BJ · June 1, 2017 at 1:38 pm
We are new recipe addicts, and if we cannot find an ingredient in our local grocery store, hopefully Ms. Reardon has it in her store. Glad you posted the telephone number and website so we can call or message her before driving to Marshall.
Bonnie C. · June 1, 2017 at 11:20 am
I have yet to visit the new Marshall location, but found the one in Flint Hill rather dismal. Hope this new incarnation has a better layout & fresher products. The shop in Flint Hill was more of an old country store rather than a "gourmet market".
Pam Lawson · June 1, 2017 at 11:00 am
While I am always glad to see new things happening l. Marshall needs so much more than it is being given.
Jim Griffin · June 1, 2017 at 9:31 am
Welcome and thank you for adding variety, the spice of life, to our kitchens and tables. Riccordino's draws me near for the Chicago sandwiches, so it won't be long before I am checking out your shop.
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