Business news from the Fredericksburg region.
New shop offers cornucopia of produce, plants
BY CATHY JETTTHE EXTERIOR of a newly opened downtown Fredericksburg shop looks like a farmers market.
A row of wooden stands filled with local produce and plants nestles against the front of Robin’s Nest Nursery at 502 Sophia St.
Inside, customers also can buy everything from co-owner Robin Kincaid’s homemade salsas, jellies, jams and pies to freshly squeezed lemonade and orangeade to seafood that can be ordered prepared with her and her husband’s popular seasoning blend.
“It’s a crab-type seasoning, but a little bit spicier and tastier than Old Bay and not as salty,” Robin Kincaid said. “It tastes really good.”
And it just might show up on supermarket shelves one day. She said that Giant Food of Carlyle, Carlisle, Pa., which operates as Martin’s in Virginia, has invited her and husband Stephen Kincaid to a vendor fair for small businesses on July 19 in Harrisburg, Pa. They’ll show off their seafood seasoning and her jams, jellies and pies.
“I was really surprised,” she said. “I don’t know how they found out about me.”
The Kincaids, who met while working at a pumpkin stand in Falls Church in 1992, have been selling produce, plants, seafood and other items at various stores and roadside stands for years.
They started their business in 1993 with $200 and a 1971 Ford LTD. They’d pick produce at farms early in the morning, and then set up tables and an umbrella so they could sell to customers in Arlington. By the end of the summer they’d made $10,000.
The Kincaids have been at a number of locations since then, including Annandale and Stafford and Spotsylvania counties. They were in Mineral for the last five years and helped start the town’s farmers market.
They were going to put up two metal sheds and a greenhouse on the land they were renting there until they discovered they’d be required to add a restroom. The property doesn’t have water and sewer.
“I thought I was jobless for a minute there,” Robin Kincaid said. “I said, ‘I’ve got to find a place.’”
She spotted an ad in The Free Lance–Star for a building for lease “on a busy corner” in downtown Fredericksburg. The owner, Kelly Newton, turned out to have been a customer when the Kincaids had their store on the corner of Lansdowne Road and Dixon Street near the Fredericksburg fairgrounds.
“We rented it that day,” Robin Kincaid said.
The cozy storefront, across Sophia Street from Brock’s Riverside Grill, was formerly the entrance to Commonwealth Financial Solutions. The entrance for that business is now on the side of the building.
The Kincaids opened Robin’s Nest Nursery on May 18 but haven’t set a grand opening date. They still have some work to do on the interior, mainly having a huge exhaust fan installed so they can prepare crabs, crawdads, shrimp and other seafood in-house instead of having someone else fix it.
“We hope to have that done by July 1,” Robin Kincaid said.
She and her husband already offer fresh, frozen and steamed seafood “to go” by the pound or dozen; and customers can place orders by calling either 540/422-1088 or 540/422-1252.
They also serve such things as chicken salad sandwiches and will be able to offer an extensive carryout menu once the exhaust fan is installed. It will include appetizers, soups, salads, subs and seafood combos, which will come with two hot and two cold side dishes for $19.95.
Robin’s Nest Nursery also carries local honey, chicken and duck eggs, and soft-serve ice cream made with a machine they bought from the former Trolley Stop Deli on Caroline Street. The Kincaids, who grow much of what they sell on their two acres in Post Oak, plan to add seasonal plants such as mums, pansies and ornamental cabbage in the fall.
Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407