January 2019


It is hard to believe that we are now in the 42nd year of The Town Duck, a miracle in these times.  Thank you all for your continued support, without which we would not be here.   A special thank you to our friends who brought us food when we had no time to even think about running out to grab a bite.  We enjoyed every bit of it, especially during the last days before Christmas.
Main Street was beautiful, especially at night when all the lights were on.  It was a pity that the weather did not cooperate and that so many activities had to be cancelled.  We owe EOTW and all volunteers a debt of gratitude for their hard work.
BREAKING NEWS!  In six weeks we will see the opening of an independent bookstore, “Old Town’s Open Book”, at the former location of Latitudes at 104 Main Street.   A complete report is on today’s fauquiernow.com site.  We cannot wait to welcome them to our block.  Things are looking up for us and we know how hard our landlord, John Capetanakis, has worked to get a good “mix”.
There is also a new neighbor in our block at 88 Main – Viccor Jewelry, owned by Natasha Curry, who specializes in handmade jewelry.  She also does “reknotting” of pearls.  More information can be found at www.viccorjewelry.com
It was another very tough year for bricks and mortar retailers but we managed to stay afloat. 
The staff worked almost around the clock at the end, after working very hard all year long.  I think that Robbie probably dreams or has nightmares about baskets and gourmet trays.   Mary Tarr and Mary Beth Hume were real troopers to come to our rescue when we needed it most.   Randy Kincaid (Bealeton Handyman) did a lot of deliveries for us, which was a huge help.  My sister, Renee, was most helpful and a great source of moral support, but I am sure she was happy to be back in Canada.   Most of all, thank you to our customers for your patience when we were overwhelmed with wrapping packages and selling cheese and other items at the food counter.  It was hectic right up to closing time on Christmas Eve and we went through a lot of food and wine this year!
One of the biggest problems small businesses have is the high cost of shipping.  There was a time when we could almost fill a UPS truck on the last shipping day before Christmas.  With all the free shipping offered by Amazon and the other internet sellers, it is not possible to offer that service at a reasonable price.  Like everything else, the small businessman is probably subsidizing all that free shipping.   We are still UPS shippers and continue to ship for our customers and please remember that if you buy something from us, we will package it and you can take it to your chosen shipper or the Post Office.  A word of advice – the US Post office has a selection of Flat Rate boxes and envelopes and it is much less expensive than shipping by UPS, especially for items going a long distance.
Robbie and Anne have finished taking inventory and we are slowly restocking.  We are very happy to get back on the fish routine as we know how much it was missed.  Before we know it, shad roe will be here – my very favorite!   I think sometimes it arrives close to Valentine’s Day.
The fridge is full of great cheeses.  We ran out of Affinois and Vacherousse before New Year’s but we have a good supply.
There is not much left of our Christmas goods but the remaining items are on sale at 50% off except for the ornaments custom made for us by the makers of the White House ornaments.    
Wine sales were good throughout the year and we made Dave McIntyre’s Washington Post wine column as a source for several wines and in most cases our prices were under the average price quoted.  Our Special orders continue to be a big part of our wine business.  We had Hugues for two tastings last year and he sold a good deal of wine each time.  Dave McIntyre’s column of January 2, 2019 listed “The 12 best bargain wines of 2018” and we have in stock the Ch. La Mothe de Barry Bordeaux Superieur 2016 and the 1+1=3 Cava, which Hugues poured at his last tasting and sold every bottle.  We plan to bring in some of the others on the list as soon as we finish taking inventory but several have moved into the next vintage as Dave had reviewed these wines throughout the year.
As I write this, snow is forecast for this Saturday and Sunday.  IF YOU HAVE ORDERED FISH, PLEASE TRY TO PICK IT UP TODAY (FRIDAY) OR EARLY SATURDAY.  SOME FORECASTS HAVE SNOW STARTING MID DAY SATURDAY AND INTO SUNDAY.  AS SOON S AS THE ROADS START TO GET SLIPPERY WE CLOSE AND TRY TO GET HOME ASAP.  If we are planning to close early on Saturday and not open on Sunday, we will inform you by email.
We always leave the sad part for the last.  In 2018 we lost many good friends and customers.  Among those were Admiral “Ace” Lyons and his wife Renee, who died within weeks of each other.  They were customers ever since they moved here.   Christine Bach died recently and our friendship went back over 40 years.  She brought Bibi and me together over 30 years ago by suggesting that Bibi hire me when she bought the shop.   The rest is history.  Christine also introduced us to Karen McKnew, who became a longtime member of our team and although she retired, we are always in touch.  Christine’s son, John Piper, keeps in touch.  We lost Jim Strother, the manager of the Warrenton Co-op for decades, and a personal friend.  His daughter, Jill Mitchell, is still a faithful customer and friend.  Our sympathy goes to Jim’s widow, Sally, Jill and her family and his sister and her family.  
Annette and the gang