Shop unique finds, enjoy a cup of comfort

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As the new owner of Wildflower Marketplace, Linda Gayman wants to create a warm, calm, inviting atmosphere for shoppers. ANDREA ROSE/LOCAL.NEWS

WAYNESBORO—Head north on Route 997 less than a mile from the square and you’ll find Wildflower Marketplace tucked away off to the left.

Travel back the gravel drive and you will come upon a modern barn that, from the outside, completely belies the warm, rustic environment inside, offering more than 6,000 square feet of shopping space on three levels with nearly 50 vendors.

“We have some artisans, hand-crafted items, jewelry, mid-century modern, re-purposed items, furniture and vintage,” said Linda Gayman, Wildflower Marketplace owner. “It’s not a flea market.”

Gayman and her husband, Brian, purchased the marketplace in November from former owner BJ Small, after working her way up the ranks from vendor.

“I got here as a vendor and about a year ago, started helping behind the counter. It really helped me to get to know the vendors, learn how the store operates and what BJ wanted to see,” said Gayman, who got her start selling tea.

“For me, tea is a comfort thing,” Gayman explained. She offers a mug of comfort to shoppers.

“I want that atmosphere of peace—calm and inviting, welcoming. People call it their ‘happy place’ and I want them to come in and shake off their day, have a cup of tea and browse,” she said. Of course, tea is available to purchase.

Adding the tea and hot chocolate corner is one of the first updates Gayman planned. Next comes renovations to the current classroom space.

“I have some dreams to add services,” she said.

The couple has also added a wedding room to the lower level of the shop that features a mix of items that will vary from week to week.

“We hope it will be a fun and affordable area for brides to be to find things as well as attendees looking for unique gifts,” Gayman said.

If the unique gifts aren’t enough to draw customers in, the shop’s architecture and structure should be. The multi-level barn features exposed beams and rafters.

And there’s room for more artisans, Gayman said.

“Other vendors we would like to add are pottery, vintage, hand-sewn pieces, locally-made furniture and maybe essential oils,” she said.

When it comes to customer satisfaction, Gayman said Wildflower Marketplace recently started a loyalty program where after six purchases, shoppers get Wildflower Bucks.

“The more you spend, the more bucks you get,” Gayman said. February is double points every Thursday. “I’m trying to do a promotion every month,” she added.

Gayman also hosts Facebook Live sessions every Thursday at 11:45 a.m.

Wildflower Marketplace is located at 11729 Anthony Highway. Hours are Thursdays, noon to 5 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Follow them on social media or call them at 240-310-4264. “When people come in, they are typically looking for things for their home,” Gayman said. “I want it to be affordable, but also unique and special.”