As you enter the historic building on Congress Street in New Market, the screen door slams behind you, and you are transported to another time. An old-fashioned bell jingles as each customer enters.
The moldings and the tin ceilings and the walls are original. The furniture has a country vibe- antique mixed with the more modern, popular whitewashed cottage look. You could be walking into someone’s country home, except that everything is for sale! It is stepping back in time, furnished with a modern farm vibe.
Owners Cindy and Brian Miller are originally from Fulks Run. Cindy is related to most of the Fulks there. Wayne Fulk is her dad and used to be a familiar face behind the counter from time to time, until he retired. The Millers now live in Lacey Spring on a mini farm. Camp Horizon and Grampy’s Village Zoo lease part of their farmland.
The historic building has been Simple Tymes since 2011. The polished wood plank floors, and worn steps, make you wonder about those who have gone before.
The building was built in 1900, and two old maids, the Sines sisters, lived there, according to owner, Cindy Miller. “The ladies had the main section open as a grocery store; they lived in the other section. There was not a doorway there, like there is now. Many people told us, one of the sisters was famous for her big blocks of cheese, and that she had a cat that would prowl around.”
“The sisters would have to walk out the front door to get into the store. They had it for, I don’t know how many years. Then Millie bought it, and it was known as Millie’s Market. A lot of people know it as Millie’s Market. After she sold it, we were told a man from Waynesboro bought it, to keep as a grocery store. But that didn’t work out. We bought the building in 2010, we tried to keep it as original as we could- keeping the tin ceilings and walls. We started out with just this main section and rented the other side as a duplex.”
As it turned out, Cindy and her husband, Brian, realized one half of the building was not enough room. When the renters’ leases were up, Brian put a doorway connecting the 2 sides, and started renovating one room at a time. There are now 3 rooms downstairs, and 3 rooms upstairs.
The floor downstairs was rotted out in a section, and since the original wood flooring could not be matched, Brian built a little porch.
Along with Brian, there is a local man who builds for them, and a couple in WV who refinishes furniture for them. Cindy creates the arrangements and the wreaths. Until she passed, her mom used to make the pillows and ornaments. They have another woman who creates them now.
Most of their picking trips are to Pennsylvania, and she has made some Amish connections up there, and tries to get there once or twice a month. A recent Facebook post found the Millers picking in Buffalo! Local picks are a favorite, whenever people let her know they have stuff for sale.
Amazingly, Cindy does work full time, for ComSonics, a repair facility for cable equipment. She finds time to sleep between 12am and 5am! Brian also works.
The shop’s best sellers are the handcrafted furniture, they always get additional orders for pieces. You can find antiques, home décor, quilts, cottage style must- haves, assorted Rae Dunn pieces, and more. There are 3 Open Houses each year – Spring, Fall, and Christmas. All are highly anticipated and well attended. The Christmas one usually has people lined up for two blocks, waiting to gain entry!
While we were talking, one of Simple Tymes’ regular customers came in, shopping for items to stage her house, which was coming on the market soon.
Entering Simple Tymes is definitely like stepping back to when life was simpler. As you walk through the screen door, you are enveloped in a warm atmosphere, with scented candles, soothing sounds of a tinkling water fountain, and are greeted like old friends. Come on in and stay a while……
9471 S. Congress St, New Market, VA 540.740.8080
Hours: Tues- Fri- 11am-6pm/Saturday 10am-4pm/Sunday 11am-4pm
Facebook – Simple Tymes