YOUR HOMETOWN — New Market: What’s ‘Old’ Is New

General Store Harkens Back To Simpler Time

Posted: March 7, 2013

Tommy Hepner, who recently opened the Old General Store on Congress Street in New Market with his wife, Dale, stocks ham last week. Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R.
Tommy Hepner takes a call as his wife, Dale, straightens one of the many paintings the couple has for sale at their new store. Photo by Nikki Fox.
Words to live by, the Hepners do indeed have faith that their new business, the Old General Store, which has slowly but steadily built up a clientele since opening in New Market last month, will be successful in the long run. Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R.
NEW MARKET — Roughly four years ago, after more than three decades of employment, Tommy Hepner lost his job at a wholesale food distributor in Mount Jackson after the company shuttered its doors.

He rebounded and started his own wholesale distributing company and just last month, Hepner, 65, and his wife, Dale Hepner, 62, of Mount Jackson, launched their newest business venture, the Old General Store in downtown New Market.

Business has steadily picked up, Tommy Hepner said, since the store at 9408 S. Congress St. opened Feb. 11.

“It’s getting better,” he said. “Word is getting out a little more.”

The general store offers a variety of food items, from candy bars and snacks to jam and pancake mixes. The shop is also stocked with a mixture of fresh, organic produce, including potatoes, onions and fruit.

“Come summer, we will have more local produce,” he said, adding that the store will sell locally grown corn and peaches.

The Hepners also sell handmade jewelry made by their daughter, Jenny Hepner, of Staunton.

Tourist Hot Spot

The couple said they chose New Market for their new shop partly because of the large number of tourists who come through the area.

The biggest tourist attraction is the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park and its Virginia Museum of the Civil War.

The park will host its annual battle re-enactment on May 18 and 19. The event attracts thousands of visitors to the town each year.

In addition to the re-enactment, the town hosts a variety of festivals and other events, including the annual Route 11 Yard Crawl.

Each summer, 5,000 to 10,000 yard sale enthusiasts swarm U.S. 11 from Stephens City to New Market to search through 43 miles of treasure. This year’s event is Aug. 10.

Tommy said the couple is bracing for a big summer.

“We’re trying to gear up for it,” he said.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or

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