8/20/2016 - Battlefield Country Store opens in Spotsylvania

The Battlefield Country Store opened this week off State Route 3 near part of the Chancellorsville Civil War battlefield.

Owner Alvin Esh said he decided to build the store at 6150 Plank Road because of the success of The Ole Country Store & Bakery he owns in Culpeper County. Many customers from the Fredericksburg area had urged him to open a location nearer to where they live, he said.

“It was time to expand,” Esh said.

Like The Ole Country Store, The Battlefield Country Store specializes in Amish Mennonite products such as baked goods, meats and cheeses. It also has a deli.

Esh said the new store will mainly serve the surrounding neighborhoods, but tourists visiting the nearby battlefields may stop by for a deli sandwich and can even eat it on the store’s front porch.

Jeff Meier will manage the store, and his wife, Crystal, will oversee housewares, as well as jarred goods such as jams and jellies. Esh said the goal is for Meier to take over the store’s ownership one day.

Battlefield Country Store is directly across State Route 3 from the Civil War Trust-owned First Day at Chancellorsville Battlefield property. That protected land was the site of the opening clash between Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Union Gen. Joseph Hooker’s Army of the Potomac on May 1, 1863.

Last year, the Spotsylvania County Planning Commission endorsed Esh’s special-use permit to build the 9,000-square-foot store opposite the battlefield despite the National Park Service’s objection that it might lead to other commercial development in the battlefield area.

Supporters argued that having a place to buy food nearby might encourage visitors to spend more time at the battlefield site.

Esh, who held a ribbon-cutting for the store Wednesday, said he plans an official grand opening on a Saturday in September, but the date has not yet been set.