The Clifton Saddlery is moving to a new location in Centreville.
Equestrians who have loved the store and rejoiced in its convenient location feel a twinge of sadness. Like the much-loved Heart in Hand restaurant, the Saddlery has added its own touch of magic to the charming Town of Clifton.
“It’s hard to see it leave, especially for those of us who have backyard horses and live nearby,” said Priscilla Donahue, who has been affiliated with the tack shop almost since it opened.
Since Sue and Gary Claremont opened The Clifton Saddlery in 1987, it has been a place where riders can find anything they need. Like a magnet, it draws horse lovers inside; there they meet warm, knowledgeable staff members who share their passion.
Liz Nuti bought The Clifton Saddlery from the Claremont family in February 2007. Under Liz’s guidance, the store has flourished. In addition to carrying all the high quality merchandise equestrians would expect to find in a tack shop, Liz set up two “boutiques.” One features beautiful gift items and the other, adorable children’s clothing and irresistible toys.
Nuti, who is a professional accountant, is a savvy entrepreneur. When Booth Feed closed both its Northern Virginia stores, she decided to jump right in and fill the need for a full-service feed store in this area.
She became a dealer for Purina and Pennfield. Because both these companies require dealers to stockpile bags and bags of feed, Liz and her husband leased warehouse space near Burke for the tons of feed they now carry.
The demand for feed soon outgrew the space in the Clifton store. Liz’s office and one of the rooms where gifts had been displayed so stylishly became storage areas. Business continued to boom, and Nuti added hay and shavings to the inventory.
The need for a larger facility became critical during the Spring. Nuti and her husband began to search for one, which they found in nearby Centreville. The new store is located at 6319 Multiplex Drive, only a 10-minute drive from Clifton.
After moving into the store at the end of September, Nuti plans to expand the business again. The Clifton Saddlery will carry items for pets and schedule deliveries to nearby communities. Horse owners accustomed to driving to Manassas for their hay, grain and shavings will appreciate that new service.
Drew Nuti, who is Liz Nuti’s son, will serve as the warehouse manager. Customers, he knows, will appreciate the ease of buying supplies at the approximately 6,000-square-foot store. They can pull right up to the loading dock at the rear, and warehouse staffers will carry those heavy bags and bales directly to their cars.
The size of the store means that The Clifton Saddlery can carry many more products. Drew Nuti smiled as he listed the different kinds of feed that Purina supplies for some very “interesting critters: crocodiles, koi, geese, ducks, deer, lambs, sheep, and goats.”
Like all The Saddlery’s fans, members of the staff have conflicting feelings about the move.
“We’ll be sorry to leave Clifton," said employee Nina Erichsen.
Drew Nuti agreed. He also is “sad we’ll be leaving the quaint town of Clifton.” In order to grow in this economy, he explained, the store has to adapt to its customers’ needs for feed, shavings and hay, and its present location does not allow it to expand. “We can’t do it here.”
Farewell to our friends at The Clifton Saddlery, and welcome to your new location. We are all looking forward to visiting you in Centreville.