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May 21, 2021

New ABC store regarded as a boost to Old Town

Photos/Don Del Rosso
Bob Foley, who worked at the ABC store on Culpeper Street decades ago, appreciates the new location’s proximity to the post office.
We welcome any successful business to Warrenton that chooses to open here. It benefits all when customers are coming.
— Warrenton Mayor Carter Nevill
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
For years, the Warrenton man listened to stories about Old Town’s first state-owned liquor store on Culpeper Street that closed decades ago.

“When I was a child, I remember hearing about it,” recalled Tom Conrath, 30. “I don’t believe I actually saw the store myself, or recognized it for what it was, but I always wanted one within walking distance.”

On Thursday morning, Mr. Conrath’s dream of sorts came true when the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority opened a 2,290-square-foot store at 45 Main St.

“I’ve been waiting for it since I heard the old one shut down” and moved to Warrenton Village shopping center on West Lee Highway, explained the National Guard member, who lives a few blocks away from the new ABC store.

Warrenton’s second liquor store will stock 2,000 items, including 361 bourbons, 200 rums, 179 vodkas, 174 cordials and 172 tequilas.

Among the store’s first customers, Mr. Conrath picked up a $19 bottle of Paddy’s Old Irish Whiskey.

“I’m happy with what they got so far,” he said. “I hope they expand. I’m sorry it wasn’t here sooner. But, I hope it’s here for a long time.”

Like Mr. Conrath, others interviewed Thursday morning believe the shop will bring additional traffic to Main Street and give a boost to Old Town merchants.

“We welcome any successful business to Warrenton that chooses to open here,” said Carter Nevill, 51, mayor and co-owner of Carter & Spence, a jewelry and gift shop at 41 Main St., who paid $84 for a bottle of Nikka whiskey. “It benefits all when customers are coming.”

Bob Foley, owner of L.J. Foley Plumbing & Heating Inc. at 35 W. Lee St., agreed.

“I think it can't do anything but help Main Street — bring more people up here, help other business, too,” said Mr. Foley, 76, who worked as assistant manager at the Culpeper Street store until 1971. “I think it’s a great idea.”

Mr. Foley bought a bottle of Woodford Reserve whiskey for $46.

The Main Street ABC store makes liquor purchases more convenient for him than the one at the shopping center, he said.

“Other than the parking problem, it’s great, because I go to the post office (just east of the store) all the time,” Mr. Foley explained. “It’s easy enough to stop here at the same time."

Looking around the new shop, he added: “I remember coming in here when it was a furniture store. Looks good to me.”

Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, the store has a manager and three sales associates.

Lead Sales Associate Lorri Kilby helps oversee the Warrenton outlet.

“I’m excited to see how it does,” Mrs. Kilby said. “And, I think it’ll do well. Just needs the right people in here. It’ll take time to build up that clientele, because everybody’s going over to the other Warrenton store” at the shopping center. “I think we’ll get there.”

The state agency rents the storefront from Jim Carson, who moved his land planning and surveying company, Carson Land Consultants, to the building’s second floor in November. Under a seven-year lease, the state pays the Carson family’s 45 Main Street LLC $3,287 per month for the space.

The alcohol authority also operates stores in Marshall and Bealeton.

Contact Don Del Rosso at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-0300.
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