Whittingham opened 24 years ago and over the years owner Bob Whittingham moved locations but not the focus on providing excellent products and inspiration to customers.
“Fredericksburg is considered America’s most historic city and works well for business. There is a good mix of retail stores, from high-end antiques to more affordable shops,” Whittingham said. “‘Mom and pop’ stores line the streets. This type of environment is what America is made from.”
Whittingham, formerly a freelancer in the display industry in New York City, has created a special ambience in his store. He and his staff provide the subtle details such as the ever-changing product and window displays to enhance a shopper’s experience.
For Whittingham, the holiday season is the busiest. “People tend to shop locally to get what they want. They look for convenience and a good reputation,” he said. His creative holiday window displays are designed without using products and focus instead on festive visuals people enjoy each year.
Unique displays abound throughout the store. “I try to find something interesting; offer different things you don’t see any other place,” he said. Whittingham enjoys helping people create a similar look in their own home, even on a smaller scale.
Shoppers peruse linens, cookware, jewelry and the irresistible toy display. Colonial candles, toys, jewelry, Shun knives, tea, cast iron cookware, cutting boards, pictures, and kitchen gadgets (perfect for tourists) are all top sellers. He also offers monthly cooking classes which provide a culinary adventure to interact, learn and experience.
Whittingham discovered his entrepreneurial passion late in life, at the age of 55 (24 years ago) but said he wouldn’t change a thing: “I am having fun, and not retiring. Customers are my favorite part about owning the business. I’m buying for them and creating ideas for them.” He said there truly is something for everyone in Whittingham.
Best-Sellers at Whittingham
Home Decor: Colonial Candles; Uttermost and Napa Home & Garden wall pictures.
Toys: Nostalgic toy products by Schylling.
Jewelry & Accessories: Jewelry by K & K
Apparel & Accessories: Spartina, Mud Pie, Saro Trading.
Kitchen Items: Shun knives, All-Clad cookware, Lodge cast iron products and Epicurean cutting boards.