Friday, Jan. 17
Great Harvest Bread Company and Latitudes Fair Trade Store in downtown Warrenton recently created an opening between the two stores that will allow customers easier access between the locations.
“We have a lot of the same customers and we don’t directly compete as far as what we sell,” said Latitudes owner Lee Owsley. “Our products really go well together in terms of serving conscious consumers. Our customers are people who care about the quality of their food and people care about how their products are made and where they’re made.”
Pablo Teodoro, owner of Great Harvest, said that he and Owsley had discussed the new opening between the two stores for a couple of years. When he and Owsley visited two stores in Harrisonburg that had a similar set up. They made final plans for the opening a couple of months ago.
“We’re just trying to make it easier for folks to move from one place to the other,” said Teodoro. “We actually had the door open for a couple of days over the weekend when they weren’t working on it, and we watched people go right back and forth. It’s gonna work out well.”
Teodoro and Owsley are both part of an informal group of businesses called, the Fifth Street Coalition. The group is made up of eight businesses that are on the corner Fifth Street and Main streets in Warrenton.
“This is kind of an outgrowth of that. We are putting our belief in collaboration between businesses to the test,” said Teodoro.
Owsley said that this new relationship between the two businesses will represent the kind of support that the coalition promotes.
“We’re making a physical representation of our like mindedness. I know that Pablo’s success is my success, and my success is his,” said Owsley.
According to both Teodoro and Owsley, customers have shown a lot of support for the new doorway.
“We got a lot of likes and comments on Facebook when we put the news out. Everybody that comes in thinks it’s awesome,” said Teodoro.
Owsley said that before there was a doorway, many of her customers came to her store with coffee or food from Great Harvest.
“People would come in with their coffee and they’d say, ‘oh, can I drink my coffee in here?’ I would tell them yes and as a matter of fact we’re hoping to cut a door through here. Every customer that I’ve said that too thought that it was a great idea.”
Construction on the project began on Jan. 2 and the door was completed about a week later.
When the project is complete there will be a glass paned door that slides into a false wall. While both of the businesses are open, the doorway will remain open. At times when both businesses aren’t open, the door will pull out of the wall and close off the opening.
Owsley said that the glass door will allow customers to look into each store while the other is closed and will also provide more light to both spaces.
“So you can come down the sidewalk and you can actually look through that opening into Pablo’s store, and look into my store if you’re coming from his direction. It’s really neat,” said Owsley.
Both store owners are excited for their new set up and hope that the chance that they've both taken will be worthwhile.
“It is risky. We’ve risked a fair amount of money,” said Teodoro. “It’s going to take a long time to recoup the money that we’re spending on the construction. We’re risking our friendship. We’re risking whether or not it’s actually gonna work. But, we’ve gone over all of that and at the end of the day we think that it’s worth the risk.”
For more information of Great Harvest Bread Company and Latitudes Fair Trade Store, visit their websites: