President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy enjoy a morning cup at Atoka Store, circa 1962.
By Mena Wahezi
Middleburg, VA - For months, locals asked if this century long favorite was making a return. Curtains hung inside as curious passerby’s peeped through the window.
Little did they know that the store that once catered to the Kennedys, was preparing for a superb facelift.
The scent of fresh gourmet coffee will yet again permeate through the store at the crack of dawn. The fragrance of fresh, warm bread will flood the aisles of goods.
Neighborhood regulars can now rejoice that everyone’s go-to store in Atoka is making a homecoming.
History revolves around the store that has been in existence for more than a century. Jackie and John F. Kennedy had built a summer haven in Middleburg decades ago. When attending to the summer home, the Kennedy’s frequently made stops at the store.
Atoka Market (formally known as Atoka Store) located at the junction of Atoka road and route 50- John Mosby Highway (approximately 3 miles away from Middleburg and Upperville, VA) unveils its fresh appearance after months of being on hiatus.
|Courtesy Photo |
Neighborhood regulars can now rejoice that
everyone’s go-to store in Atoka is making
Prior to its improvement and new management, Brian Wilson knew the store was in dire need of help due to its unkempt appearance. “I continually went there because of how convenient it was, but the love was just not there. It was almost as if they were just running the store to make a quick buck. It was really quite sad.”
Middleburg businessman, Ali Moshari, has established his esteemed reputation by serving the locals for nearly twenty years. He took upon the opportunity to reclaim the Atoka Store legacy.
“In my opinion, the business had been completely ruined by the previous tenants," Moshari said. "The store disfigured and run down. It was a difficult task, but once completed, it turned into a worthy contribution, well appreciated and embraced by the community.”
The market attracts a flux of habitual customers for their breakfast, lunch and dinner specialties. It carries an incessant list of everyday treats and essentials.
A vast assortment of fresh meals, wines, cheeses, artisan breads, flavored honeys, a variety of refreshments (including an ice cold beer cave) to even pet food.
The clientele is just as eclectic as what they will shop for. “Back then everyone from Senator [John] Warner and the Kennedys came here," said Brian Wilson, a Middleburg native. "Now it is the distinguished residents to those who work on the field and farms. Whether it’s grabbing lunch or getting milk for the kids before they head to bed, everyone enjoys it here because it is so convenient."
Local David Hardy was one of the many eager customers who were awaiting the opening. “A couple of months ago I was passing by the store, and I saw that they were sprucing the place up. It looked great. It was busy before, but now with the dapper appearance, I think it will draw a lot more customers in.”
Undoubtedly, the store creates a wave of nostalgia for customers who have been shopping there for years. Even with Atoka Market’s revamp, the heartwarming feeling has remained the same.
Long time resident and general manager Adina Profitt knows how significant the store is for local patrons.
“Smiles are always exchanged, and everyone seems to know each other’s name," Profitt said. "I had one local tell me they used to purchase penny candies years ago from the store…and being able to offer that again here is so charming”.
“Also, being right off of route 50 makes the location unbeatable…it is a distinctive market, and a landmark to the community”.
It was evident that the store was missed, and routine shoppers like Brian Wilson longed for the comeback: “You don’t realize how much you miss something until it’s gone, and that’s exactly how I felt about this place”.