By this time next year, the iconic “red barn” known as Country Store Antiques will no longer define the Route 29 / Route 33 intersection in Ruckersville. For Chip and Sally Taylor of The Copper Poppy, the looming demolition of the Country Store meant decision time for their small antique store business—and the couple decided the time was ripe to strike out on their own. The Copper Poppy now occupies the old Boot’vil location at 8633A Seminole Trail, between Little Ceasar’s and the Trail Motel.
Chip Taylor says the decision to take over the new building was guided by a touch of fate. After Sally saw an online listing for a location that turned out to have been turned into a car dealership, the couple had parked in the adjoining lot and happened to notice the empty store front right next to Thangz & Stuff. Knowing that Boot’vil had moved and that the store must be vacant, Chip called up the Boot’vil owner to get the number for the landlord.
“Twenty-five minutes later we were talking to him here and looking around … and then we turn and we see that over the door as we go to walk out,” Chip said, pointing to a large painting over the doors depicting the Country Store Antiques building with a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains and “Greene County, Virginia” painted in flowing script. The owner of Boot’vil had the painting done years ago.
“Whoa, wait a minute—we’ve got some fate going on here,” Chip said, citing the moment they decided this was the perfect location for their new enterprise. “At our age, the entire situation—all of our financial pieces falling into place with the reimbursement from VDOT, it was almost like you’d be dumb not to. It’s a chance—one chance, right in front of (us).”
The Country Store will be demolished in the next year, and the fate of the remaining vendors remains uncertain, according to Taylor.
As part of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) project to improve safety and traffic flow through this important Greene County intersection, Route 33 will be widened on the east side of Route 29 to provide two left turn lanes for traffic turning onto Route 29 south. An additional through lane will also be added for westbound traffic crossing Route 29 and bicycle lanes and sidewalks will be added, according to VDOT Communications Coordinator Will Merritt.
“The antique store parcel is one of eight that will be impacted by the project and one of two properties approved for redevelopment by Greene County,” Merritt said. “Construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2022 and will take about two years. Demolition of the antique store parcel will occur during the first phase of construction.”
The Greene County Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning earlier this year at the 29/33 intersection that will give business owners the chance to build a new red shop further east on Spotswood Trail to allow some sellers the chance to relocate once the construction project is completed.
“The Country Store will be a casualty of the Route 33 widening project; it will be taken down as a result of the widening and the right-of-way acquisition with VDOT,” said LJ Lopez, a partner in owner Rt. 33 Holdings LLC/Milestone Partners.
Lopez told county administrators in January that a preliminary design of the new building is underway and that it will be representative of the old landmark at least in its red color.
For Sally Taylor, who hails from England originally, the chance to open her own store came with many design advantages.
“We wanted it more spacious and open and just a nice atmosphere to keep people in here shopping rather than just go round in circles and leave,” she said of the store’s layout, which is somewhat akin to stepping into an eccentric neighbor’s living room.
In their old space inside the Country Store, they had very little room for some of the larger pieces of furniture now on display.
“It’s nice to be able to, when something sells, get a couch in here or dressers and things people might be looking for,” Sally said, noting the 1970’s corner where a bright orange couch is flanked by funky pillows and two lava lamps. The couple said they hope to draw people in with their homey atmosphere, rather than piling as many items and trinkets on every surface as possible or stacking shelves from floor to ceiling.
Chip Taylor, who does computer work for the sheriff’s office when he’s not helping his wife at the shop, says it is all Sally’s vision that brought the store to life.
“During the cleanup and the painting and the baseboards and the waxing and mopping and everything else, I wouldn’t let her in here for like three or four days, and she was about ready to stab me,” Chip laughed. “At the end of that time frame, I said, ‘OK fine, you can come on in. You’re the artist—here is your palette. Create. Knock your lights out.’”
The store officially opened April 1, after five weeks of rushing to move, paint, clean and set up the new space. Taylor says they hope to soon join the Chamber of Commerce officially and to hold an official ribbon cutting ceremony this summer.
The Copper Poppy is open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be found on Facebook or at email@example.com. You can reach the owners by visiting the store or calling (434) 277-3400.