By Allison Michelli
After 75 years in business, Jimmie’s Market, Kidwell Caterers and The Madison Tea Room in Warrenton will be closing their doors this October.
Original owner Jimmie Kidwell opened the market in December 1939 after the A&P he worked at initiated self-service shopping—a more conventional form of shopping—where customers didn’t need to directly interact with store employees to pick out their grocery items.
According to a statement provided by Jimmie’s current owner, Susan Feely, this allowed Jimmie to move his clientele to his new business where fine service was the standard. Jimmie’s Market sold specialty foods like hand-cut veal liver, fresh meats and produce and Italian, Spanish and Greek specialty food from D.C. Feeley remembers that Jimmie’s was the first store in the state of Virginia to sell Birdseye frozen vegetables. She explains, at that time the owner of Bird’s Eye frozen foods had a home in Warrenton and he wanted to show off his new products so he sent Jimmie a freezer so that he could sell the frozen vegetables in the store.
When Feeley and her husband Jim Feeley moved to Warrenton from Poughkeepsie, New York in 1971, the couple quickly became regular customers at Jimmie’s Market. In 1975 when Kidwell wanted to retire, the former IBM engineer (Susan) and chemist (Jim) bought the business.
After running the business for close to 40 years, Feeley is ready to retire. Now for sale, the space dates back to the Civil War and the tea room, which was formerly the Madison Barber Shop. According to John Toler from the Fauquier Historical Society, the barber shop was the first African-American owned business on Main Street in Warrenton.
The Feeleys will auction off the store’s equipment and many of the original fixtures of the building, such as barber chairs. The exterior sign will be put on display at the Fauquier Historical Society’s Old Jail Museum after the business closes this fall.
Interested in claiming your own piece of history? Feeley is auctioning off fixtures and antique furniture, such as a chopping block that was purchased by Jimmie Kidwell in 1950 and was used for many years to make ground beef for the market. It is the highest bid item so far at $1,200. Other items for sale include a 1939 Hobart Slicer used at the market for 75 years (current bid $75), a gelato freezer (current bid $500), a Theo A Koch barber chair (current bid $500) and an automatic cappuccino machine (current bid $450).The market and its adjacent building are currently listed on the market for $450,000 by Wright Realty. “We have had a number of people interested, but no one has taken it yet,” says Feeley.