New venture for Bradshaws

Published 10:56 am Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ronda Foster, from left, Unha and Joel Bradshaw and Susan Elsen with Bradshaw's Country Store in Carrsville. -- Stephen H. Cowles | Tidewater News


CARRSVILLE—The owners of Bradshaw’s Country Store in Carrsville have met their five-year goal and taken on a new venture.

Joel and Unha Bradshaw have bought the nearby former Hawkins Grocery. They are considering a consignment store or gift shop for the 2,800-square-foot building on Carrsville Highway, said Unha Bradshaw.

Acquiring Bradshaw’s Country Store came about in the fall of 2006 when Joel Bradshaw walked into the site’s previous incarnation. The family farm where he grew up is across the way on See Gar Drive.

He was inspired to see a potential business for himself, and after consultation with his wife, made an offer.

“I dragged my feet” about coming from northern Virginia, said Unha Bradshaw, noting she’s used to big cities.

A native of South Korea, she was involved with a floral business; some of her customers included the Kennedy and Schwarzenegger families.

“It didn’t look like much work,” she said about the new venture.

“We worked many hours,” added Joel Bradshaw.

Unha Bradshaw said at first there were 12- to 16-hour days. Now she’ll usually have to work eight to nine hours a day, six days a week. An efficient staff has helped; son Jacob helps when needed. The couple’s other children are Tim, Lisa and Linda.

The store is open 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

In addition to adding more shelf stock, the couple sells gas, offers faxing and copying services, accepts food stamps, and sells postage stamps and Virginia Lottery tickets.

“It’s like a one-stop shop,” said Unha Bradshaw.

The store also includes worms for fishing, pet food, propane and non-ethanol gas, a bank cash machine, and breakfast and lunches, which can feature chicken, Nixon’s Carolina BBQ or Hunt Brothers Pizza. A couple of tables and a counter are on hand for customers.

Joel Bradshaw said that before his family took over the place, the patrons were mostly men. But he and his wife wanted to create a friendly environment for women and children. So, smoking in the store was eliminated. Though cigarettes, beer and wine are sold, they are not prominently displayed.

All this has cultivated a loyal customer base, including folks from Virginia Beach, Joel Bradshaw said.

“We have people come from Newsoms and Hunterdale daily,” he said.

Though he’s 60 and she’s 56, he said, “We’re just starting out.”