'Over the river' lies a shoppe for all seasons
New Business Spotlight
Karan Townsend opened The Town's Inn Sundry/Snack/Supply Shoppe on Sept. 3 at 179 High St. in Harpers Ferry, W.Va. (By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer / January 23, 2013)
Owner: Karan Townsend
Address: 179 High St., Harpers Ferry, W.Va.
Opening date: Sept. 3, 2012
Products and services: Almost everything a modern convenience store or old-fashioned general store would have, including food, beverages and toiletries from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Aldi, many of which are organic, natural or gluten-free; instant/packaged meals; canned goods, including soups; granola bars; chocolate bars; chips; peanut butter; beverages such as Virgil’s root beer, Reed’s ginger ale, soy milk and juices; toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, castile soap, lip balm and lotions; local country store items from McCutcheon’s in Frederick, Md., such as a variety of cider and soda, fruit spreads, salsas and pure maple syrup; miscellaneous household and other items such as batteries, flashlights, laundry detergent and air fresheners; first-aid and over-the-counter medications such as pain reliever, antacid tablets and bandages; gifts such as bamboo utensil sets, potpourri and clothing; customized gift baskets containing items from the shoppe (can be ordered in advance or made while you wait; homemade food (everything prepared in the kitchen can be boxed to go)
Target market: Local residents and visitors to Jefferson County, W.Va.
How did you get into your business, and what motivated you to start it?: My passion to preserve, protect and promote Harpers Ferry and my experience living on Capitol Hill, a great D.C. urban village, convinced me that people in urban and suburban villages need a country village where they can enjoy wholesome relaxation and entertainment focused on health and heritage to balance their busy lives. My son and his wife agreed with me and bought the circa-1840 former residence and restaurant at 179 High St. for me. I leased the building next door, which allowed me to open the inn with two buildings offering seven guest rooms. I leased the restaurant out until 2011, when I assumed control. In 2012, I decided to downsize the lodging business, so I stopped leasing the building next door, upgraded the restaurant (so we went to all home-cooked items made fresh in our kitchen) and opened the country store. My motivation has always been to offer my family — especially my eight grandchildren who live on Capitol Hill — my neighbors in Jefferson County and visitors to Jefferson County an old-fashioned place that complements the historic character of the Harpers Ferry living-history village so people in the D.C. area can travel "over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house," where they can enjoy a self-contained dining, lodging and shopping experience year-round. The inn is a place for all seasons, for many reasons, so even if “the weather outside is frightful, the town is still delightful.”
Previous business experience: Teaching in public schools, teaching teachers and teaching English to scholars and international business men and women, 40 years; managing my husband’s law office, 20 years; appraising real estate, seven years
Number of employees: One to 12, depending on the season
Hours: Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, since the inn provides lodging. Official hours of the restaurant are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Phone numbers: Restaurant, 304-535-1860; lodging, 304-932-0677; mobile, 304-702-1872