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Two new retail shops have opened in downtown Culpeper.
Date published: 11/11/2012
Kate Shrewsbury noticed a trend when she looked for labels to stock her new store in downtown Culpeper.
About two-thirds of those that caught her eye as candidates for Harriet's General at 172 E. Davis St. were made in the United States.
"There's quite an American-made resurgence," said Shrewsbury, who decided her shop would sell only those things for him, her and home that are made in the United States.
Harriet's General is one of two new shops that have opened recently in Culpeper's revitalized downtown. The other, Unique Boutique, features fashionable accessories and clothing for women and girls at affordable prices. It's located above The Cameleer at 125 E. Davis St.
Harriet's General, which Shrewsbury owns with her husband, Acie Shrewsbury, is named for her grandmother, the late Harriet Harrell. It has a dual meaning, she said, because the shop is a general store and her grandmother was married to Gen. Ben Harrell.
The store's logo was inspired by a photograph of her grandmother waving a white-gloved hand to people as she and her husband left Turkey, where they'd been stationed. A framed copy of the photograph hangs in the back of the store.
Shrewsbury got her love of retail during childhood summers spent helping her grandmother run a UNICEF shop in California, and would go with her to gift shows in San Francisco to find new merchandise.
"I've always wanted to own my own store," said Shrewsbury, who previously managed the nearby Pepperberries gift shop.
Harriet's General, her first venture, has a vintage vibe and Western feel that Ralph Lauren might envy. She and her husband scoured antiques shops to find unique display pieces for their shop.
Greeting cards, for example, are displayed in wooden library card catalog drawers, and such retro toys as jacks and tiddlywinks fill metal bins tucked under what was once a hardware store counter.
There's even an antique Coca-Cola cooler in the back of the store where customers can get bottles of Coke, Sprite and Fanta, and a vintage pinball machine where every quarter customers drop in to play a game is donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Harriet's General carries everything from candles to cologne to clothing for men, women and children, as well as soaps, jewelry and things for the home.