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March 1, 2017

Owners want $9.6 million for Waterloo Station

Photo/Don Del Rosso
Built in 1984, the Waterloo Station shopping center has several restaurants, a wine shop and a furniture store among its tenants.
I would like to close the café at 20 years — or sell it. Twenty years is a good run.
— Andrea Ferrero, Café Torino and Bakery owner
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The owners of Warrenton’s Café Torino and Bakery at Waterloo Station shopping center want to simplify their lives.

That process for Andrea and Amber Ferrero could begin with the sale of the shopping center and an adjacent property, which includes the Fox Den Antiques Mall, at Waterloo Street and West Shirley Avenue.

The Ferreros opened their popular restaurant at the shopping center in May 2001.

Ten years ago, they and other investors formed a corporation — ABC and J LLC — and paid well-known Warrenton businessman Jim Rankin $8 million for the buildings, with about 47,000 square feet of leasable space, and 4.8 acres.

With a $9.6 million price tag, the corporation in November put the properties on the market.

For tax purposes, the county assesses them at $6.8 million.

“So far, we have four investment groups that are looking into it,” said Mr. Ferrero, the corporation’s managing partner. “It could be tomorrow, or it could be a year” before the properties get sold. “We’re not under any pressure.”

Mr. Ferrero and winemaker Chris Pearmund own a controlling interest in the corporation.

“So, basically, whatever we say goes,” Mr. Ferrero said.

Mr. Pearmund serves as the corporation’s chief financial officer.

Unloading the Fox Den Antiques Mall parcel and Waterloo Station, which includes the Carousel soft-serve ice cream business, figure into the Ferreros’ plan to sell or shut the restaurant in about four years.

“I would like to close the café at 20 years — or sell it” in 2021, Mr. Ferrero said. “Twenty years is a good run.”

For several reasons, the timing to sell the properties and close the restaurant couldn’t be better, the couple explained.

Their daughter and son will have completed college in about three years; they have grown tired of nearly two decades of long hours at the restaurant, and the commercial real estate market has begun to rebound, the Ferreros said.

The shopping center and adjacent building, formerly a farm equipment dealership, generate $567,000 a year in rent, according to the real estate listing.

“We’re ready,” said Mrs. Ferrero, 44. “We want to move to the next phase of our lives.”

“I’m tired of managing” the two properties, said Mr. Ferrero, 49. “We’ve paid our dues, put in our time. Now, somebody else can enjoy that.

“It’s time. My wife and I are starting to shed things we have.”

To that end, Mr. Ferrero in January sold a townhouse behind Warrenton’s Oak Springs Plaza shopping center for $196,000, according to land records.

Neither of the couple’s children wants to take over the restaurant business, he said.

“They know better,” Mr. Ferrero said. “They’ve seen us do it. They know it’s a lot of hard work — 24/7.”

Nor does Mr. Rankin, who owns Rankin’s Furniture at the shopping center, want to repurchase the properties, which he owned for 15 years.

“Just not interested,” said the former Fauquier board of supervisors member. “I’m 86. I don’t need that. Do I want to stay here? Sure. But, I don’t want to own it. We have other investments we can survive on, if we have to.”

Mr. Rankin operates a furniture store at Waterloo Station. His family also owns Rankin’s True Value Hardware at the Warrenton Village Center along Broadview Avenue. Mr. Rankin opened that business 51 years ago.

Do the Ferreros plan to retire after selling the two commercial properties and quitting the restaurant business?

“Retirement’s a big word,” Mr. Ferrero said. “I’m not a millionaire. I’m thinking about not working 13-hour days.”

“Our dream is to move to the Islands, get a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) license, take people scuba diving, doing lunch on the boat and do little tours,” Mrs. Ferrero said.

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dp64 · March 3, 2017 at 11:56 am
It never ceases to amaze me how some folks can be so brave and nasty from behind a keyboard. People who know Mr. Delrosso, respect him as one of Northern Virginia’s most established, ethical, and accomplished journalists. His merit and awards prove this fact. It is obvious to me during this interview there may have been some miscommunication or misunderstanding of information. The situation could have been handled in a much more civil and respectful manner. The Ferrero’s comments resemble an adolescent social media rant.
Jim Griffin · March 3, 2017 at 7:55 am
We are blessed with fine journalists competing with one another in Fauquier County. I am certain every one of them delivers an honest, genuine effort to keep us all informed.

My heart goes out to the proprietors of Fauquier Now for their recent loss (Lou lost his Dad).

Both print outlets are staffed with outstanding people properly motivated. Thank you.
TooTrue · March 2, 2017 at 4:45 pm
Citizen Observer is right about the great food and nice family. Also the other statements about news and here are largely true.
citizen observer · March 2, 2017 at 4:40 pm
TooTrue you are probably right. I don't know who all the news players are but I do like eating at Cafe Torino's and Andrea is a great guy and they have delicious food!

It's just sad it is almost impossible to just get straight news anymore. It used to be very clear way back when it was a public service on TV. Now they have to "sell" news, so it gets twisted to match a market audience.

It's so sad this local site is also stooping down and slanting a local entrepreneur's words to make a story. And we wonder why many good businesses skip right on past Warrenton to other localities...
TooTrue · March 2, 2017 at 10:25 am
Any person that has ever worked with Don knows he generally tries to get things right. Lou Emerson on the other hand fits the description below and may be directing him to a greater extent now as compared to when they worked together at The Citizen, a regular paper or media outlet, which Fauquier Now is not.
citizen observer · March 2, 2017 at 10:07 am
Fauquier Now needs to get rid of this poor excuse of a reporter. Read the Cafe Torino's owner response below on Facebook about how the reporter misquoted his wife. It seems the reporter spins all his stories to fit his agenda. I mistakenly thought Fauquier Now was above this type of slimeballs reporting but I guess not.
Thanks for setting him straight Andrea!
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