The Country Mill, at 160 Sugar St, will be moving to it’s new location at 5 Glen Rd in Sandy Hook, on July 1. Linda Manna, owner of the shop, said, “I wanted a change. I wanted to be a part of the Sandy Hook Village Revitalization.”
For the last 15 years, Manna has sold reproduction and antique primitive home furnishings from her one room shop. For the last five years, her husband, Robert has been creating pieces for her to sell.
A talented carpenter, "Bob" also made many changes in their home to reflect Linda’s love of antiques. “He put down wide board pine floors, he put beams in the ceilings, and pine paneling on walls. In the family room, he built in cupboards, and wet bar. The house was built in 1975 , but now it looks like it was built in 1875.”
“He was a technical designer at Pitney Bowes,” his daughter Michelle Ferris said of her father’s talents.
An all around family affair, Michelle and her husband Brendan make the signs sold in the shop. “The signs are cut by my husband, and I paint them, but the kudos really goes to my parents.”
Michelle said she is excited about the move. “This is something my mother enjoys. She is very talented, the way she runs the business. She has a really good eye for interior decorating. I remember as a kid, how she loved to rearrange things. The house always looks impeccable. It looks like it was in a magazine, and it was in a holiday issue “A Primitive Place.” This is definitely her passion.”
Michelle said that she likes seeing how her parents work together. “It’s good to see her do what she enjoys doing. She has a lot of good committed customers, who are friends as well.”
Both Michelle and Linda are excited about the changes. “There are all these rooms in the new shop. There is so much potential; so many nooks and crannies,” Michelle said. “Back in the day, there were rooms for a buttery, a tavern room, gathering rooms. There are good size closets and neat spaces for her decorate.”
“In the new place, we will have a garden with flowers and we will sell fresh flowers and herbs inside,” Linda said. “The old space was convenient to home in a great country setting. We were always busy. But I am really ready to go. For 15 years, we heated the room with a wood burning stove.” Laughing, she added, “I won’t miss lighting that.”
There is a mural on the wall, painted by Diana Baxter, Newtown, when the original shop first opened. “I am sad to leave that behind. My son said I had to cut it out of the wall and bring it with me,” she laughed, “I can’t do that.”
The old building goes back to the 1950s, and was originally an army surplus building. According to Manna, the previous tenants were a couple who sold feed and grain, and had a gift shop.
“The new building is an 1840s house, it’s bright and will be a good showcase," Linda said with a smile. "It will feel a little more like home away from home. Crash, our golden retriever, is looking forward to sleeping on the porch out front.”
Linda and Robert Manna moved to Newtown from Bethel 37 years ago. “We always loved Newtown,” she said. “People don’t realize how quaint and charming this town is.”