Karen Whitford, owner of a prime piece of real estate in the heart of Leiper’s Fork, says the .45 acre plot was originally purchased well over a half century ago for $980. The new owner took out a $80 loan to complete the deal.
The date the home was built is unclear; additions were made in the 1950’s. The charming little cottage experienced decade after decade of living and loving by folks who made it their home.
The last resident died a few years back; Whitford purchased it and in 2015 did a total renovation from the outside in, turning it into a retail shop. Perfectly named, “Finds in the Fork” is a gem.
Today, this piece of commercial property in the center of Leiper’s Fork Village has just come on the market for $795,000. Listing agent Scott Hudson terms it a “rare find.”
“Leiper’s Fork Village is a very tight knit community of property owners. Businesses here are usually sold within that group or to someone close to it,” he said. “It is unusual that a prime property like this comes to the open market.”
The 1096 square-foot home underwent a top-notch renovation with Whitford at the helm.
It was a labor of love.
“We fell in love with the house from the beginning, but that only intensified during the renovation,” she said. “We redid from outside in, adding a new metal roof, composite siding, windows, doors, plumbing, wiring, insulation and encapsulated the crawl space.”
The project uncovered layers upon layers of time and change.
“We removed drywall, wallpaper and vinyl to reveal beautiful hardwood floors and bead board walls and ceiling. We found original paint; it was like a treasure hunt. We wanted to keep these interiors original to the home,” says Whitford.
The house on Old Hillsboro Road has one full bath and a galley kitchen. There are three small rooms and one large one. A porch and garage complete the structure. The garage is not part of the listed square footage. It is currently still used as a garage.
The property backs up to Leiper’s Creek. Whitford, a professional photographer, has some of her photos mixed with the vinyl records, turntables, guitars, ukuleles and curated local items such as custom jewelry in her retail mix.
Whitford’s former husband is a musician and two of her sons are musicians, as well. Finding a niche in the vintage side of music in this vintage structure was a natural for her.
“I will sell the business as it is, or certainly the new buyer can change it to their own concept,” she said. “The structure could also be converted back to a two-bedroom, one bath home.”
The retail mix in the village spans the gamut from restaurants to fine art galleries to antiques to clothing.
“There’s a lot of money to be made within this retail district,” said Whitford. “I didn’t go into it expecting to make a fortune with my choice of retail, but my business has grown each year. My financials are available to prospective buyers.”
Whitford says selling is bittersweet. She put so much time and effort into the business.
“We have a large farm in nearby Primm Springs,” she said. “I have so many animals now, that I’ve decided to spend more time here taking care of them.”
Hudson, who lives in Leiper’s Fork, says this structure with its vintage vibe is, as far as he knows, the only piece of commercial property within the Village for sale … or even for rent.
“It’s a real privilege to bring this property to market,” he said. “The antique shop next door just recently sold for $850,000. Karen hopes the buyer will keep this spot as a business. She says retail builds the Village. While the property could be used for offices, the thought is that retail is its best future.”
He terms the property a real “hot spot in the Village.”
“Leiper’s Fork has it going on,” says the veteran Realtor.