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May 31, 2017

The Empty Nest will go out of business at end of July

Photo/Cassandra Brown
Janet Metzger will close The Empty Nest on July 31, just more than five years after opening the shop at 92 Main St. in Warrenton.
My social media is like 24/7. Sometimes it feels like I’m documenting my life, not living my life. So it’s time to step back and live my life for a little bit
— Janet Metzger
The Empty Nest
• What: Shop selling vintage and antique crafts, home décor and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

• Where: 92 Main St., Warrenton.

• Owner: Janet Metzger.

• Opened: July 20, 2012.

• Closing: Monday, July 31, 2017.

• Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday; closed Sunday.

• Phone: 540-216-3044

• Website: Click here.

• Facebook: Click here.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Old Town Warrenton soon will lose another retail shop.

Five years after opening, The Empty Nest on Main Street will close July 31.

Shop owner Janet Metzger, 62, announced the closure on Facebook last week.

Open six days a week, the business at 92 Main St. sells vintage and antique furniture, crafts, home décor and the popular Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Ms. Metzger said she will close the 1,600-square-foot shop that employs three part-timers to spend more time with family and friends.

“I’ll go out on a high,” said Ms. Metzger. “Retail takes a lot of time. It’s like owning a restaurant; you’re there all night and all day. I go home and I don’t really get to turn it off. I’ve missed birthdays, Christenings and weddings.

“My social media is like 24/7. Sometimes it feels like I’m documenting my life, not living my life. So it’s time to step back and live my life for a little bit,” she explained.

Ms. Metzger still plans to paint and revamp old furniture at her house near Warrenton.

“I’m ready to sit on my back deck with a cup of tea or coffee and plant some flowers, bake some cookies and work out of my home studio for awhile.”

The Empty Nest Facebook page has more than 18,000 followers, and people from all over America and the world visit the shop.

Last year, the business processed 4,132 transactions, two-thirds of them with customers from outside of Warrenton, according to Ms. Metzger.

But, she already has started telling her customers to visit a shop in Fredericksburg that sells Annie Sloan paint after she closes.

Earlier this month, Piccadilly Ltd. gift shop at 80 Main St. closed after 30 years, leaving another Old Town storefront vacant.

Inventory at The Empty Nest, excluding Annie Sloan items, will sell at a 20 percent discount through the end of July.

“I’m very optimistic about selling everything, but if someone came in and said they wanted it all, then absolutely,” Ms. Metzger said.

She listed “getting local people to shop local” as one of the greatest challenges.

“Some of that I blame on the town. If you go to the Town of Warrenton website, there’s a lot about the chambers and their luncheons,” the merchant said. “I think the town could be doing more to spotlight the businesses to attract people, because when people come, they spend money. When you look at towns like Culpeper . . . they actively go out and court businesses. I’ve never felt that here.”

Gainesville resident Spring Bryer feels “bummed out” that the shop will close in two months.

“This is my happy place,” said Ms. Bryer, who visited the shop last Thursday to say goodbye. “You can spend an hour or two looking at stuff” at The Empty Nest.

A customer for about two years, Ms. Bryer said she visits the shop for “inspiration.” She recently purchased several furniture items and paintings from The Empty Nest for her new baby girl’s room.

“I hope the town will find ways to entice more retail to Main Street, not office buildings,” Ms. Metzger said.

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RRidgell · June 5, 2017 at 5:02 pm
The Town of Warrenton is not really a draw for disposable income. When visiting with my family we hit up DejaBrew, Great Harvest, Red Truck, Molly's, Black Bear, and Hidden Julles, but there isn't much else to draw people in. The town needs more attractions for younger folks with disposable income. To do this rents need to fall, property owners need to realize they aren't in Arlington or Vienna. Let some younger, hipper, businesses start and begin to thrive with reasonable rents that take into account that parking is awful, space is cramped, buildings and infrastructure are woefully behind the times requiring large outlays for code compliance (excuse me, historical), and ordinances are very restrictive. Historical charm doesn't generate revenue by itself.
Ars Longa · June 3, 2017 at 11:17 pm
Please, before everyone jumps to the conclusion that the town government/Wtaxpayers are the ones responsible for private business' success, let's look at the facts. Culpeper has a thriving business district because it has thriving investment from the private sector. It has dynamic businesses that attract other dynamic businesses. And this is because it has investors and developers ready to make it happen. Same goes for Marshall. The town of Warrenton is not the problem...it is the property owners.

Sorry folks, but unless you want socialism, the free market determines a town's success. So before you point fingers at government, which everyone wants OUT of the private realm, we need to acknowledge reality. We have ordinances on our books for a reason, and they are really far less burdensome than business will have you believe. Are they annoying and sometimes seem stupid? Sure, but they are there for a reason, and when you step back and realize how they have preserved the aesthetic of our community, you might appreciate them a bit more.

Ordinance and regulations affect businesses throughout the Commonwealth, and with good reason. Warrenton is nothing special. Our obstacles to success are not the burden of the taxpayer...they are the responsibility of the property owners, the investors, and the merchants. These are the people we need to rally.

Personal disclosure: I own a retail business in Old Town.
dyepics · June 1, 2017 at 1:45 pm
Always enjoyed spending time (and money) there chatting with Ms. Metzger - her joy of sharing knowledge and inspiration is contageous. And most of all, always interested and encouraging in our "attempts" at painting furniture.
BJ · June 1, 2017 at 9:26 am
Dear Ms. Metzger, I was not addressing your business in particular as you can see from my posting. We go to the Internet or the Library to get our DIY education. No offense intended. Many happy returns on your “I’m ready to sit on my back deck with a cup of tea or coffee and plant some flowers, bake some cookies and work out of my home studio for awhile.”
BJ · May 31, 2017 at 6:38 pm
Another way to look at certain businesses going out of business in Fauquier County is that many people in the county are DIYers. Why pay ten times more for something in a store when you can do-it-yourself by going to auctions/yard sales, finding furniture that needs some TLC, and DIYing it. Learning how to make and repair things, growing your own produce, etc. is what rural people do.
steelernation · May 31, 2017 at 5:47 pm
we agree with Ms. Metzger's assessment that the town of warrenton ( and fauquier county in general for that matter ) do not actively court and support their local businesses. case in point - businesses have to go through the equivalent of the spanish inquisition to even put up a sign in this county! this attitude towards local businesses has been a problem for as long as we have lived here (30+ years). maybe our new economic developer can figure it out although if you consider the MANY people who have had that position in the past - well it doesn't appear that they had a clue. the signs for fauquier county that you see on the highways when you enter the county say "business friendly environment" - a real joke. i agree with Ms. Jacobson's assessment also - give county residents a reason to shop local. to date this has not been accomplished.
Darlene jacobson · May 31, 2017 at 2:18 pm
Warrenton needs to examine how this town is run. I go to Culpeper for dining and shopping. Culpeper is a thriving little city. Business is booming and one has to diligently search for a parking space because of crowds enjoying dining and shopping in Culpeper. Fauquier county and Warrenton are not business friendly, but will say yes to every house builder who wants to build houses. PUBLIC SERVICE ALERT to county government. We have enough houses! Country residents need a town and county that entices people to stay in the county and spend their money here. Invite business to the city and county. They pay taxes. Building more houses requires more schools, police, fire, etc. Give your citizens a reason to shop and relax
here. Thank you for opportunity to speak.
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