It was not the holiday season that Leesburg Antiques Emporium owner Linda Conry had in mind, as she now prepares to pack up 22 years worth of memories in her family’s downtown Leesburg antiques store.
The store will close to the public Dec. 18, ahead of its required move-out date of Dec. 31. It was not a move that Conry and her family had anticipated nor wanted. They were informed in the fall that their landlord, Cloverdale, LLC, was filing an application with the Board of Architectural Review to divide their 10,000-square-foot space into three separate storefronts, in hopes of capitalizing on the resurgent downtown’s hot restaurant market.
Bill Cammack, of Cloverdale, LLC, said breaking the large space up into multiple storefronts has been a part of the plan since his company took over ownership of the building five years ago. Now, he hopes to generate interest from restaurants or other retailers. The building could be broken up into two or three storefronts, or if a single tenant wants to use all 10,000 square feet that may be an option, too. Although the buildout will depend on the needs of future tenants, Cammack said owners also plan to install an elevator to make the basement level more accessible.
As to the reasoning behind the Dec. 31 move out for the antiques emporium, Cammack said the deadline boiled down to the timing on the anticipated buildout. He also noted that the antiques shop has been on a month-to-month lease for several years.
“We tried to be fair,” he said.
Since the “going out of business” sign appeared in the store’s South King Street window, it’s brought an emotional response from long-time shoppers and community members, Conry said.
“Some will come in crying,” she said.
The antiques emporium opened more than two decades ago, when downtown Leesburg still had the reputation of being an antiques and collectibles mecca. Conry’s parents, Roger and Susie Mason, opened the shop. Conry and her sister Yvonne Eble later took over running the Leesburg operation so their parents could turn their attention to their other antiques store in Middleburg. Their brother, Neil Mason, also sells his antiques at the Leesburg store.
“We’ve really enjoyed being here, especially when there was really nothing in town,” Conry said. “Leesburg and Loudoun County are completely different from when we started in here. We had fun here while were here—sales have been good, dealers are nice, people that work here are wonderful. It’s sad that another little mom and pop shop is going to be gone.”
Conry said she would miss the common sights of high schoolers digging through their collection of $1 buttons, the ladies who gather at the counter looking for jewelry finds, and the couples who come in without fail on holidays and anniversaries in search of priceless gifts. But she encourages those who have patronized the antiques emporium to come out to Middleburg, where the family shop at 107 W. Washington St. is ready to serve them. Conry noted that her dad is equally excited at the prospect of his daughter moving over to run the Middleburg shop, so he can retire down south.
The store has marked down many items from the 40 dealers who showcase their wares in the shop and hopes to clear as much of its inventory prior to closing its doors Dec. 18. It will take just about all the two weeks following that, to the start of the New Year, to pack up the store’s remaining wares and transfer items to the Middleburg shop, Conry said.
Leesburg Antiques Emporium is located at 32 S. King St, and is open seven days a week. The Middleburg Antiques Emporium is located at 107 W. Washington St. and is also open daily.