With a goal of bringing a “renewed spirit” to a 100-year-old 21st Street institution, Purcellville's Nichols Hardware store is extending its business by launching a sandwich and coffee shop called the Hardware Cafe.
The cafe opened at the end of December.
Owned by Don Nichols and his wife, Blue Ridge veterinarian Valerie Campbell, the Hardware Cafe came about when they began discussing ways to bring more foot traffic into the store and a desire to revitalize the building, which was in need of major renovations.
Campbell said they upgraded the historic structure by replacing plumbing, wiring and adding new windows and flooring.
While undergoing the process, they decided to add a cafe and coffee shop in an area of the building that was once a grocery store. The area was most recently used for storage.
The addition where the cafe is located was built in the late 1940s or early 1950s, she said. The back section of the building was added in the late 1950s.
Most recently the cafe side was used to store “things that didn't sell” and old furniture.
“This is a much better use of the space. It is hard to find a casual sit-down spot in downtown Purcellville. You can sit as long as you want here and enjoy the free WiFi,” Campbell said.
Campbell has experience with renovating historic buildings. She spearheaded the project to re-open Round Hill Local Grocery in 2017. Both buildings were built in 1914 and required a lot of work, she said.
“We hope people will shop at the hardware store and come for coffee or a sandwich. There is a shortage of this type of venue downtown with recent closures on 21st Street and we want this to be a hang out spot. It is also a rebirth of Nichols and we want to make it a more happening place with TV's, an expensive Italian espresso machine, locally sourced cupcakes, gluten-free products, and we will try to get into some more things as time goes by,” Campbell said.
In addition to coffee and other beverages, menu items include subs, paninis, breakfast sandwiches, bagels, biscuits and croissants. Gluten-free bread is available.
“This is for the community. We need to find a way to make the business work, and we are hoping it is a 21st Street rebirth. We are trying to bring the center of town back to old town Purcellville. ” Campbell said.
Looking ahead, Campbell's next project will be opening this spring – called Blue Ridge Pet Spa and Resort. It is located in the industrial park near Mayfair off Purcellville Road. She said the 10,000-square-foot space is currently being completed and she hopes to open it in March. There will be many services for pets to enjoy - including a pool, pet day care, physical therapy, photography, training and programs for seniors and pets.
“It will be a fun place to go with pets,” she said.
The Hardware Cafe is located at 131 N. 21st St. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.