Shop Hop

W hen you think of the word “gather” there are perhaps many things that come to mind that relate to collecting, finding and/or scooping up.

However, if you ever find yourself in Midlothian, Virginia (near Richmond) the word GATHER is most often associated with one of the area’s most charming, vintage shops.

Throughout this post, I’ll share more of this lovely store in the latest edition of my regular column, Shop Hop.

Today, I’m taking you on a visual tour of GATHER and later in this post,  I’ll also introduce you to the proprietor who sat with me for a little Q & A.

By the way, this post marks the first edition of my new regular, blog column called SHOP HOP which will feature unique stores, flea markets and other delightfully-unexpected gems that I come across in my travels.

GATHER is a treat for the eyes before you ever walk into the store.

Step up on the front porch for a look at casually-styled vignettes that evoke the simplicity and comfort of a Southern lifestyle with hints of modern, European influence.

Blog gather porch table

Rustic features help frame the building’s exterior adding interest and personality (not to mention great photo opportunities for amatuer photographers like me).

rusty, vintage bike
This weather-worn sign post is planted near the front steps and points the way to multiple destinations in its own old-fashioned way.

wooden directional signs

As soon as you step inside the store, you’re greeted with an explosion of colors that beckon you to come take a closer look.

The owner, Melissa Carr (you’ll meet her further down in this post) has as much an eye for stage setting as she does for finding interesting and appealing merchandise and antique furnishings.

GATHER inside

In this area of the store, your nose will definitely point the way ahead.

If you have an affinity for soft smelling soaps and other sweet scents, you won’t be disappointed.


square, block soap

I’m a sucker for beautiful displays and these apothecary jars nicely showcase the goods inside.

jars of soap

Here’s a view of the back of GATHER looking out toward the front of the shop.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

GATHER rear view

Check out these oversize pillows. The fabrics are gorgeous with great color and texture.

I think I want one of each.


If you love vintage posters, you’ll find plenty to choose from.

vintage signage

There’s quirky and quaint for sale here and I think that makes the browsing that much more enjoyable with something different at every turn.

Personally, I’m always on the lookout for the unusual.

old fashioned typewriter

glass balls

While the owner opened GATHER five years ago, the building this shop is housed in was built way back in 1850.

Today, the building is designated an historic landmark which adds all the more to the current store’s authentic, vintage-inspired charm.

historic landmark marker

You’ll find a mix of old and new here that all work together in their presentation to create a cornicopia of choices from assorted handcrafted candles…

to retro-inspired, needlepoint belts…


… to bright, floral sundresses that hang near the window adding a splash of late-Summer color to that corner of the store.

There’s something to please any taste.

floral sundresses
I spotted a couple of dozen things I’d love to have in my own collection.

How cute are these?

reading glasses

I’m always looking for ways to use interesting elements and items to enhance my photo styling efforts and stores like this are a great place to find great props.

I’ll have to put some thought into how I could use wooden shoe forms in an upcoming photo shoot.

vintage shoe forms

I’ve seen stacked suitcases like this used as decorative features in a number of home decor magazines and they look great when used in just the right room.

vintage suitcases

Actually, painting has always been owner, Melissa Carr’s first love and her colorful artwork is sprinkled throughout the shop for sale (and admiration).

Melissa Carr oil painting

Step upstairs to the second level and you’ll not only find more beautiful merchandise but the owner’s studio as well.  It’s filled with the tools of a painter’s trade and a creative life.

I love the wood flooring and the natural light is enviable.

studio space

Here’s a look at another one of Melissa’s beautiful oil paintings.

cow oil painting

So much to see, so little time.

Melissa stocks loads of pretty dishes.  Isn’t this a lovely collection?

lettered dishes

Of course, there are equally lovely kitchen linens.

kitchen linens

Stocked with a little bit of everything, these sturdy shelves run the entire length of one wall in the store.

You may be tempted to inspect just about every cubby.

wall shelf

chocolate covered peanuts

note box

I love everything about his arrangement.  How stunning is this ivory sofa with its wood carved trim?

If you buy these pillows, you may want to consider the area rug too because they couldn’t be better coordinated.

I’m also intrigued by those distressed shudders on the back wall which add a shabby-chic touch.  Could that work on a wall at home?  Maybe.

large sofa

Another interesting and attractive display.

Yes, I definitely like the look of those green shudders.

vintage bird cage

This window also caught my eye because of the way the light poured in through the decorative, grate.

The khaki-colored, linen drapes pulled to the side and topped with a bow have a casual elegance that made me want to snap this photo.

linen window drape
By the way, your shopping at GATHER can include eats and drinks if you like.

Just call 24-hours ahead of your arrival to order a tasty lunch made just for you.

The menu features all homemade choices.


The eating area is on the shady side of this historic building.

Deliberately-tangled branches form of an arbor and make for an inviting entrance to this outdoor dining area.

It’s all so pictureque, peaceful and perfect.

outdoor dining area

In what is perhaps a nod to its historic origins, this shop does feel like an old-fashioned, country store in many ways.

Even the location of the shop (unexpectedly-situated at a bend in a rural road, adjacent to an old railroad track) suggests a bygone era.

Again, that’s part of the charm of this store and I’m so glad I stumbled upon it.

shop counter

I’d like to thank Melissa Carr from GATHER  for allowing me to spend the morning in her beautiful shop and letting me snap photos galore.  I took tons of photos and it was pretty hard to narrow them down for this post.  I hope I did justice to this lovely little shop and I hope you enjoyed the tour.

Look for more shop tours on this blog in future editions of my new column, SHOP HOP.  



Melissa Carr, ownerQ & A with Melissa Carr



“People ask me if it was a dream of mine but it wasn’t at all, it was just kind of a flukey thing.  First and foremost, I’m a painter and I had some artwork left over from a Delaware show that I wanted to sell.  My husband had been cycling by this builidng and saw it was for sale.  He peeked through the keyhole and then came home with the suggestion that the building would be a great place to sell my artwork.  

That’s how Gather came to be”.


I was walking my dog and thinking about what to name my new shop and I thought about all the range of goods and things being gathered together and the name sounded right. 

 I also wanted a name that people would not mispronounce.  It’s funny though, some people still don’t pronounce it correctly, but that’s OK”.



“I love that.  The store was built in 1850 and I think that adds charm and character to Gather.  When I first started out, I was just selling my artwork but because of the historic nature of the building the original shelving couldn’t be moved.  That’s when I started looking for smaller items to fill the shelves and my inventory grew to include more than just my paintings.


“The barometer I use to decide what to carry is based on whether I would take it home.  I know there are a lot of things that I could carry here that may sell but if it’s not something I would be tempted to take home myself, I don’t want to carry it in my store. 

That really has been my guiding principle”.


“I have a great relationship with my customers, many of whom are repeat, loyal shoppers.  I’ve gotten to know many of them quite well and new ‘regular’ customers arrive every day who really support me and my efforts here.

You know, there are so many small businesses that close and people wonder why.  Well, when you support local, those tax dollars stay in the community and everyone benefits, it’s important.  I also have a valuable relationship with local vendors and artisans and that’s equally important.  Of course, I also have a fantastic staff.


“Wow, owning this shop is definitely a labor of love.  It’s a lot of work to run a business from paperwork to various taxes but I love running this store.   The location of the shop itself may be a little off-the-beaten-path but that’s also what I love about it. 

I have great employees and the customers are great.  When I have to be a way from the store for a while and I walk back in here, I look around and think this is really nice and different and I love that”.

  vintage red truckAbove photo courtesy: Melissa Carr/GATHER 


920 Mt. Hermon Road  Midlothian, Virginia



  • Kimberley@Breadman

    Nothing gives you as much pleasure as building and decorating your house yourself. There are stores like the one you mentioned where you find all you need to make your house a comfortable home, where you feel a strong sense of belonging. Rather than depending on the one-size-fits-all mentality which is prevalent among many men and women in our generation, we have to learn to be creative and make our own decision regarding the aesthetics of our houses.

  • Lynn @thevintagenest

    Gather is just down the road from my home and I have bought everything from funky cute pajamas to beautiful journals to the best smelling linen spray you can imagine from the shop. I always take my out of town visitors to Melissa’s place. It’s an amazing store and the location if so charming. ~ Lynn @thevintagenest

  • Judith

    Lisa, great post. I just saw your buttons/beads clipboard project in Romantic Homes magazine. Congrats.

  • gillian

    a piece of heaven. sigh

  • Breezehillfarm

    What a beautiful post! You have written in such a way that the reader will actually feel the experience of being there. As someone who has been there many times I can done good! I love Gather, I love Melissa and now, well it just goes without saying, I love your Blog.

  • Bobbi Jo Nichols

    Wow that looks like such a fun place to spend a good amount of time looking at all the pretties. Thank you for sharing. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

  • Kisha

    I love that shop, hate I live so far away. Lisa that bird cage is amazing!! Yes, I’ve been shopping with my eyes. I could spend hours in her shop

  • Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita

    it looks like a terrific place – wish I lived closer!

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