Home Designer Purchases This Piece of Bedford County History
The iconic antebellum-style white building that overlooks the Forest area is now operating under new ownership and a new name. But most everything else people love about the White Brick House and antique shop will remain the same.
New store owner Sarah Krycinski purchased the building on the three-acre property in early September and has renamed it Ashwood Manor Designs.
“I’m moving my store and design business there. I have teamed up with a few incredible designers as well so we can offer our design services and styling for women,” Krycinski said.
Other than one vendor leaving, all 20 women-owned businesses will stay on at the property and will continue selling items including jewelry, key chains, signs, shabby-chic furniture as well as architectural salvage, vintage furniture, and farmhouse-style items such as kitchen and baking tools.
“I thought, ‘Well I’m probably going to have to start fresh with zero vendors and I’m going to have to fill this up’ and that was a little overwhelming,” she said. “And when I met with everybody, and shared my vision and the new name and all the things that are going to be in store for us, they all decided to stay. And the best part was Peg did too.”
Peg Breiholz, owner of the White Brick House, will stay on as a vendor (as well as selling her items online) but will no longer run the 231-year-old home.
“I’m very excited about Sarah coming in and taking over,” Breiholz said. “I’ve known the property was going to be up for sale for about a year and a half so I’ve just been waiting on God’s perfect timing for this to happen.”
Breiholz added she is happy to see that the business will continue running and that all vendors—minus one—are staying. She is also excited that new vendors and commercial products are a part of Krycinski’s vision.
“The fact that I won’t have to be there all the time is a huge blessing,” she said. “It’s all going to be pretty much the same except there’s just going to be more. We hope the community continues to support Sarah and the new business. And I think they’re going to love it.”
Krycinski said her biggest goal, for now, is to get people in the door so they can experience what the shop has to offer.
“Nobody knows where it is,” she said. “A million people in Forest had no clue there was a whole retail store in a huge mansion behind Sheetz. And they wouldn’t have driven to TJ Maxx or Target or wherever because we need stores like this where we live. From little gifts for your home or for somebody moving into a home, you’re going to find that here.”
She has set up a new Instagram account for the store (@ashwoodmanordesigns) and is promoting a new designer every day on that account.
“A place like this needs social media,” she said. “There’s a ton of [new construction] happening in the Forest area. If you actually go to the top of the house and go up to the cupola, all you see is red clay, which for me is exciting because that means people are moving here and they’re escaping big cities.”
Smaller changes include painting the front door and putting up new signage. Most importantly, Krycinski is working to take the new business online.
“I have to be creative,” she said. “If we go through another shutdown, I need to be able to sell to the world because I’m not just at stake for my business failing, I’m at stake now for 20 women. I’m in charge of a lot of love and support and I have 20 families that are relying on me to make it. I’m not doing this just for myself, I’m doing this for a team of people that decided they would stay with me and believe in this.”
Krycinski said she hopes to eventually do some quarterly pop-up events and will be holding a flower giveaway twice a month from local florist, Mimosa Farms, until the end of October. She also hopes to team up with a bakery to offer baked goods.
“Come and support us,” she said. “Shop local, the world needs it.” Learn more at www.ashwoodmanordesigns.com.
By Olivia Carter | Photos by Brett Hartley