February 4, 2020
Remington store, medical practice off to “steady” start
Photos/Don Del Rosso
Christian Warner and his wife Erika devoted about $25,000 and lots of sweat equity into transforming Remington’s old Town Hall for their businesses.
Dr. Erika Warner treats chiropractic patient Stephanie Kennedy.
Melissa Janssen, Dr. Warner’s mother, helps Larry Yeager with card selections in the Snake Oak Farm Store.
We’re happy with how it’s going, and it’s meeting our expectations. Every month we get a new artist or producer who comes in and says, ‘I would like to show my stuff off and see if somebody wants to buy it.’
— Snake Oak Farm Store co-owner Christian Warner
Snake Oak Farm Store/The Remington Chiropractic Clinic
203 E. Main St., Remington
Dr. Erika and Christian Warner
• Store hours:
9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.
• Chiropractic hours:
9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday
• Store Facebook page: Click here
• Instagram: Click here
• Chiropractic website: www.remingtonchiropractic.com
With no clear plan, the Remington couple for years thought about starting a business.
Christian Warner believed his wife Erika should open her own chiropractic office. But, Dr. Warner, who works for the Fredericksburg Spine and Injury Center, brushed aside the idea.
The 35-year-old chiropractor wanted to focus her professional energy on patient care.
“I used to laugh at him,” recalled Dr. Warner, who earned her doctorate in the discipline from the San Jose, Calif.-based Palmer College of Chiropractic West in 2010. “Why would I want to open my own thing when I get go home every day after I’m treating my patients and turn off my brain?”
But the laughing stopped last spring when the couple learned that the Town of Remington had listed for sale the old municipal building at 203 E. Main St. In December 2017, Remington’s staff moved to the new municipal building at 105 E. Main St.
“We love the Town of Remington,” said Mr. Warner, 35. “When we saw the building come up we thought, ‘Man, that would be something we could really make work in downtown’.”
The Warners, who live on a 27-acre farm near Remington, quickly put together a business plan that called for a “farm store” in the front and a chiropractic office in the rear of the 1,052-square-foot structure.
The only way a shop could work financially “would be to sort of diversify the space,” Dr. Warner explained.
That might be achieved by “combining” a store with a chiropractic business, the couple concluded.
“It’s almost how a lot of farmers have off-farm jobs, but they’re still doing the farm stuff,” Dr. Warner said. “I think you have to kind of diversify a little bit nowadays if you want to have a retail location.”
The old Town Hall, originally the State Bank of Remington, and the former 224-square-foot jail stand on two parcels totaling about 3,000 square feet.
The town listed the structures and the site at $129,900. In May, the council accepted the Warners’ bid of $115,000 for the property. With a Small Business Administration loan for that amount, they closed the deal June 11.
For the next four months, the couple and Dr. Warner’s parents put “hundreds of hours” of labor into remodeling the old Town Hall, Mr. Warner said. The couple estimate they spent $25,000 in materials, fixtures and furnishings.
The 1905, one-story stucco with a small attic needed no structural work.
“We were really fortunate buying it from the town,” Mr. Warner said. “It was a municipal building. So they took really good care of it.”
Interior improvements included spackle, a fresh coat of paint and the installation of a new ceiling, flooring, insulation and walls to create an office that separates the store from the patient treatment room.
Snake Oak Farm Store opened Saturday, Oct. 12 — the day of the Remington Fall Festival. Dr. Warner started treating patients the following week.
“Everything is hyperlocal,” Mr. Warner, a 7-Eleven district manager, said of the farm store’s inventory. “So, it’s either made by members of our family or, with very small variance, it’s made a few miles from where we are right now.”
Dr. Warner, for example, makes personal care products, including salves, body butter and soaps, and bees wax candles. In the spring, the store will carry cut flowers, which she grows at the family farm.
Named after the farm, the store also carries items created by her mother, who knits, quilts and hooks rugs.
Mr. Warner makes metal belt buckles and medallions. Using an 1800s letter press in the old jail behind the store, he also produces cards and posters.
The store also features the work of area artists, ceramicists and a woodworker.
The Remington store/chiropractic business model requires Dr. Warner to continue to work at the Fredericksburg clinic.
“I think the reason we feel so comfortable with the store and with where we’re headed with this whole venture is because I have a very solid income source elsewhere,” she said.
Dr. Warner believes the demand exists for chiropractic services in Remington but not enough today to pay the family’s bills, Dr. Warner said. The couple have a 5-year old daughter.
“I don’t think Remington alone could support what I need to do from an income standpoint, simply because at this practice I can really only see one patient every half hour or so,” she said.
Operating a one-person practice, Dr. Warner has no staff, treats all patients and manages the administrative side of the business. The practice only takes patient appointments through its website.
Dr. Warner works six days a week — Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at the Fredericksburg spinal center, Monday and Wednesday at her Remington practice and Saturday morning at the farm store.
The Warners, who moved from Fredericksburg to Fauquier in 2013, seem pleased with reception to both businesses.
“We’re happy with how it’s going, and it’s meeting our expectations,” Mr. Warner said of the store. “Every month we get a new artist or producer who comes in and says, ‘I would like to show my stuff off and see if somebody wants to buy it’.”
Larry Yeager, who lives near Remington, visited the shop Monday afternoon for the first time.
Mr. Yeager, the pastor of Warrenton’s Heritage Presbyterian Church, stopped in to browse and left with five note cards that Mr. Warner produced.
Two cards depicted owls and the others showed a penguin standing on top of a Scottish terrier.
“It’s neat to have local products,” Mr. Yeager, 67, said of the blank cards, which cost $3 each. “It’s different from what you get at Hallmark. And, I tend to prefer cards that don’t have anything written in them. I’d rather write my own stuff.”
Dr. Warner treats about 20 patients, adding one or two new clients per week.
Stephanie Kennedy, 49, plays competitive tennis and, as the owner of a social media consulting firm, spends a lot of time at a desk. Ms. Kennedy suffers neck, shoulder and hip pain.
Other chiropractors have treated her for about four years. Dissatisfied with that care, Ms. Kennedy — based on a friend’s recommendation — started seeing Dr. Warner in December.
“What’s really great about Erika — different than any other chiropractor I’ve been to — is she does muscle work for you,” she said. “You just don’t come in here to get adjustment,” she said, moments after a Monday treatment session. “And she teaches you how to take care of yourself at home.”
Ms. Kennedy added: “Every other chiropractor I’ve been to is, ‘Can we see you next week?’ And, I’m like, ‘Well, no.’ Her goal is not to see you every week. She’s definitely not in it for the money.”
The chiropractic office does no advertising — at least for now. In Dr. Warner’s experience, word-of-mouth referrals work best.
“I like to develop my patient base slowly,” she said of the business. “It’s definitely steady, and I’m very happy with it.”
Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.
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