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Displaced shop left D.C., found home in Culpeper page 2
The owners of a high-end fabric store in Washington have relocated to a shop in downtown Culpeper.

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Date published: 12/8/2012

By Cathy Jett


He and his wife weren't sure if their clientele would follow them to Culpeper but have been pleasantly surprised to find that some either live in the area or enjoy making an outing to Culpeper.

"They like the town. The street is beautiful," Moe Rezvan said. "It's kind of relaxing for them."

Exquisite Fabrics is one of a number of new stores that have opened on Davis Street recently. They include Harriet's General, a general store specializing in American-made products; Unique Boutique, which features affordable fashions for women and girls; and My Secret Stash, a vintage candy store tucked inside an antiques shop.

"We're constantly busy [downtown] and we rarely have openings as real estate options," said Jennifer Brewer, manager of Culpeper Renaissance Inc. "Once one is open, it doesn't take long for it to get snatched up."

That's a far cry from how things were back in the 1970s, when a bypass was built around Culpeper and downtown began to die. Buildings were abandoned, crime was rampant, and a tree began growing out of the roof of what is now Raven's Nest Coffee House, she said.

A group of concerned citizens decided something needed to be done after Norfolk Southern Railroad requested permission in 1985 to demolish a portion of the historic Train Depot.

They formed what is now Culpeper Renaissance, got grants and were able to save and renovate the building. The project was completed in 2003, and the Depot now houses the Visitors Center, Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Tourism. It also has space for meetings and conferences.

"The revitalization of the Depot was the catalyst for the revitalization of downtown," Brewer said.

A couple years ago, there was a push to create an arts and cultural district downtown as well. Artists were offered incentives to move downtown, and a number have. Last month Culpeper began holding Sunday afternoon Art Walks to their studios and galleries.

"People from Northern Virginia come down and hang out for the weekend," Brewer said. "We get people from Fredericksburg, Manassas, Warrenton, Locust Grove, Orange, all the surrounding counties. We definitely get locals as well."

Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407
Email: cjett@freelancestar.com

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