local business

What’s Old is New Again at Another Blue Moon

Written by Shayda Windle
Photos by Callie Broaddus 

If Hunt Country is anything, it most certainly is not a place lacking in things to do or see. In addition to pastoral views of the Blue Ridge and Bull Run Mountains, famed foxhunts, and steeplechase races, there is also a vibrant shopping district in the town of Middleburg that keeps visitors coming back for more. With its tree-lined brick sidewalks and 18th-century buildings, historic Middleburg has rows of lively restaurants and boutiques that attract people from all over. This intriguing mix of old and new can be found at Another Blue Moon, a luxury consignment shop in the heart of town. The unique secondhand store offers an assortment of antique and vintage furniture, decorative accessories, collectibles, and home goods.

What started out as a pop-up founded by six friends in 2018 has evolved into the brick-and-mortar retail store you see today on Washington Street. The store is co-owned by longtime friends Kerry Dale and Jennifer Andrews. As people began cleaning out their homes and looking to recycle possessions during the pandemic, Dale and Andrews saw an opportunity to continue the venture. At Another Blue Moon, you’ll find beautiful furniture, vintage mirrors, lamps, tables, rugs, tea sets, and so much more. What makes this boutique so special is that most items come from local homes and friends of the owners. So, when you buy a piece from Another Blue Moon, you’re not only supporting the local economy — you’re also giving back to the community of contributors who have decided to consign their goods here. You’re buying something special from another person’s sanctuary and continuing that treasure’s story.

“We take things that we know customers are looking for and are complementary to our design style and inventory.”

-Dale

Dale says, “Because of our community and the nature of it, and as the real estate market has exploded, our business has grown too. We added space this year and now have barn space in the basement of the Middleburg Professional Center.” During the pandemic, Dale adds, “Instagram saved us. We would take photos and post them to social media. People would claim their goods online then come pick them up in-store.” Andrews chimes in, “Instagram not only provides an outlet for home shopping and dreaming, but continues to offer comic relief even today. What else could make you laugh about a needlepoint pillow, a Herend cat, or a shapely French chest? We learn something every day about the business and there’s always a fresh challenge around the corner.”

Left: A stack of books perfect for a home office. Center: Dale surrounded by the shop’s many treasures. Righ: Hunt Country accents are in no short supply.

“Many times, people will send me twenty pictures of what they want to consign, but we must curate what we take,” Dale explains. “We take things that we know customers are looking for and are complementary to our design style and inventory. We carry anything from antiques to contemporary to transitional and more traditional goods.” Another Blue Moon also considers whether items are on-trend, the condition they are in, and seasonality as they curate their collection. They will generally hold items for about 90 days, but Dale says they try very hard to sell with a quicker turnaround.

“If you don’t love what you do, then why do it?”

-Andrews 

It’s clear how much these two women enjoy the process of building a business together, and their passion for “finding a new life for something that still has life in it” is even more inspiring. But perhaps Andrews puts it best. She says with a laugh, “I feel like I’m in an episode of the Beverly Hillbillies, driving through Loudoun with a van full of old furniture to drop off at a barn. If you don’t love what you do, then why do it?” ML

Another Blue Moon is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment. Be sure to stop by the basement area of the Middleburg Professional Center on 119 The Plains Road for more from Another Blue Moon. You can also check them out on Instagram @anotherbluemoon to see what’s available now. New inventory is added regularly.

This article first appeared in the June 2022 Issue.

Wisdom Gallery: A Valentine’s Day Jackpot

Story and Photos by Katie Johnson

Tucked away on Middleburg’s quiet, tree-lined Madison Street, the Wisdom Gallery has stood the test of time.

Full to the brim of carefully selected greeting cards, artwork, unique furnishings and lighting, jewelry, and all manner of interesting collectibles, this little shop makes for a cozy retreat from the cool winter weather.

Owner Pauline Wisdom says business has always been good in her corner of the town, though with a few empty storefronts on the street these days, things have gotten a bit quieter. Still, she loves her job. “I’m meeting wonderful people,” she says. “I really am, and I have for thirty years.”

Pauline Wisdom

When Pauline, a native of East London who speaks with a distinct and charming British clip, initially visited Middleburg as a tourist, she thought the town could really use a good English tea shop. She chose a storefront and signed a lease, but when her plans for a tea shop fell through, she opened the Wisdom Gallery instead.

Having operated an antique shop of the same name when she lived California, it felt like an easy choice. Soon after that, she acquired a papery and stationery shop in town. To consolidate the two locations into one and simplify her business operations, she eventually purchased her current building, and set about turning the one-time dress shop into the eclectic business it is today.

A stroll through the Wisdom Gallery’s first level will lead customers to a showcase in the back full of beautiful chocolates. “I just love it,” says Pauline of this sweet collection, and smiles as she remembers how choosing the chocolates she carries was “the roughest job I ever had.”

She features confections from two suppliers, one specializing in a more home-made, simple style, and the other in giant, decadent truffles. These, she advises, are very rich, and can be cut into four pieces and enjoyed with friends. Her personal favorites are the coconut creams, but it’s the sea salt caramels that fly off the shelves. So quickly, in fact, the she has to double order them to keep them in stock.

“I’ve always had good luck with my chocolate,” she says. Upstairs, Pauline keeps an assortment of fine stationery, supplied by Crane and William Arthur.

She notes that people do still send handwritten letters, and she’s happy to be of service to those looking for special announcements and invitations. When she began selling personalized stationery and cards, she was nervous. She knew that she wanted to get everything just right for her customers, and she’s been successful.

Her stationery business really picks up during wedding season, she says, particularly for June brides, who generally come to her six months ahead of time. “You have to be so careful to do everything correctly,” she says. After so many years in business, though, Pauline is confident.

“People have come to me because I know what I’m doing,” she confides. She pauses for a moment and jokes, “Sometimes I know what I’m doing.”
Over the years, Pauline has seen many vendors come and go, and she’s always sad to say goodbye to her favorite lines. Now, it’s her shop that’s on the market.

“I have fun,” she says, “but I’m having to give it up because of a wonky knee.” Her building has been for sale, on and off, for about two years, and she would love to find a buyer who could carry on the business as it is. Her customers have asked for the same. She’s willing to help for a few months, once the right buyer comes along, to ensure the transition goes smoothly. Then, she says, she’ll focus on “just being here, and taking care of my one puppy that I’ve got left.”

In the meantime, Pauline is glad to be part of the Middleburg community. She speaks highly of the businesses in town and often recommends other shops to her customers, especially if they’re looking for something she doesn’t carry. “We’re all here in the same community,” she says. “We need to work together and not against one another.”

It’s that sense of collaboration and impeccable customer service she’d like people to remember after they visit the Wisdom Gallery. Her goal is simply to offer customers a pleasant, peaceful, and fun experience when they stop in to look around.

“We all get to work and we’re lucky if we get out and do anything else,” she says. “I don’t like to pressure people. That’s not what I’m here for.”

This article first appeared in the February issue of Middleburg Life.

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