STAUNTON — “It’s pretty special to find a town like this.”
Connor and Jessica Fox fell in love with the Shenandoah Valley. After buying a home in Fishersville and getting to know the Staunton community, they decided to open their new shop Foxtails downtown on Beverley Street.
“Our shop is really inspired by the nature around us in the Valley, the Blue Ridge Mountains and all the little critters in our local area,” said Jessica. “As you can tell, we love foxes.”
They have other animal items in the shop, too, but decided to highlight their last name Fox which is a big part of their family’s decor.
“My grandmother always knitted and crocheted, like coasters and doilies and stuff with foxes on them,” said Connor. “So, I think I kind of inherited that affinity. And when Jess and I got together, she kind of took it and she rolled with it.”
Foxtails is a place to find “rustic and whimsical items” that celebrate the local culture. “Charming gifts for every den” is the fun description on the store’s website and choosing the color green for the shop’s walls adds to the nature theme.
For most of their lives Jessica and Connor have been full-time employees and wanted something that they could own together.
“Luckily, we got the space and took our ideas for what we wanted to do here and refined them and coalesced them over the course of a couple months, and then started building and moving in here,” said Connor.
Building something together has been really special, added Jessica, and especially downtown, she said.
“Being a small business is so special and in an area that celebrates local and handmade items,” said Jessica. “So it’s great to be part of the scene in this area. It’s really become our home.”
Many of the items sold are handmade and customized to highlight Staunton and Virginia. Working with local makers and small businesses in the region and the U.S. is important to both of them. But they do have some items that each of them loves personally like purses and wallets from Fables in London. Jessica loves the story the shop tells and feels like she and Connor are telling their own story.
“Foxtails became part of our story together as a couple,” said Jessica.
The hand poured candles are from makers who collaborated with the owners to make a special scent and customized them to say Staunton with a Virginia emblem.
“These are from Hilly Hills Lane,” said Jessica pointing to handmade flower presses. “We’re her first customers in Virginia, and she special made the dogwood design because it’s Virginia’s state flower.”
“We got some dried flowers that you can experiment with,” chimes in Conner.
The couple said they wanted a clear theme to carve out their niche versus a derivative gift shop with variants of things you can find elsewhere like Amazon or big box stores. They both love the shops downtown and hope to fit in with the small business community.
Every item at Foxtails is something they would buy or already have at home. Handcrafted items from makers are eco friendly and sustainable which is a priority. Jessica’s favorite piece in the shop right now is a vanity refurbished by a local maker. Connor’s favorite is the animal-themed greeting cards.
Once they’re settled in, they hope to bring in more local artists and feature their products.
“If anybody is interested in being in our shop, as long as they fit our theme, we’d love more than anything to have them,” said Jessica.
With a wide range of prices to meet everyone’s budget, Foxtails is located at 105 E. Beverley St. in Staunton. Winter hours are Thursdays–Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To contact the owners, go to www.shopfoxtails.com.
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This article originally appeared on Staunton News Leader: Staunton business: Nature-inspired gift shop, home decor opens downtown