People Saving Places

John Kiers


Where are you from?

I grew up in High Point, North Carolina and attended UNC then joined the Navy and got deployed several times to France.

Why did you choose Staunton for your location?

After the Navy, I ended up in Charlottesville as a financial adviser. Both of my grandparents were farmers so when Susan and I moved to the area we decided to start a vineyard on a farm we found for sale in Swoope. The soil and the climate was perfect for what we were looking for. But then we saw this building back in 2003 and bought it immediately. It was an old coal and lumber weigh station. Horse drawn wagons would come up under the arches to get weighed. So we called the owner, Doug Sheridan and bought it immediately. This was going to be our tasting room for our wine.

What attracted you to this particular project?

It was pretty! It looked solid and to us it looked European to us. Matter-of-fact, in France, many small towns have tasting rooms for wineries and this was what we wanted to do since I had spend so much time in France while in the Navy.

Did you use tax credits to aid in your renovation?

Did Not.  Working 60/70 hours a week on the farm, just didn’t have thetime to do all the paper work necessary.

– May 2018


Robin Miller

Where are you from?

Originally from Kingsport TN, but moved to Richmond in 1994. Bought a second home in Staunton in 2004.

Why did you choose Staunton for your location?

I fell in love with downtown Staunton the first time I saw it!

What attracted you to this particular project?

The challenge of saving such an important campus of historic buildings. The Western State Hospital property has over 400,000SF of stunning historic buildings. The first building, which was built in 1828, will become the Blackburn Inn.

Did you use tax credits to aid in your renovation?

Absolutely.  Without both State and Federal Historic Tax Credits these buildings could never be saved!

– April 2018


Kelly Grantier

Where are you from?

My family and I moved to Staunton almost 12 years ago from Richmond. Before that I lived in Northern Virginia and New England.

Why did you choose Staunton?

My husband, John, and I had spent most of lives living in large cities, and his job transfer to Fishersville afforded us with an opening to make a change. The walkable, close-knit community and slower pace of Staunton is the perfect place to raise a family.

What attracted you to the properties that you have renovated?

Living in Staunton has presented me with the opportunity to explore my life-long passion for historic preservation and home renovation. No matter the size or style, each house is unique and has a story worth saving.

Did you use tax credits?

No, I did not. It depends on the individual project. I did, however, take advantage of Staunton City’s tax abatement program.

– March 2018


Dave Metz

Where are you from?

Near Kankakee, Illinois

Why did you choose Staunton, VA?

I was working for US Steel in Pennsylvania and Debbie, my wife and I moved to Staunton and started an equipment rental business in 1976 and operated it until 2004 when we sold it and I became a realtor.

What attracted you to this particular building?

We were living at the Old Y and always admired these buildings from our window. These buildings came up for foreclosure sale and it had lots of light and a four car garage! So we bought it!

Did you use tax credits?
No. Federal tax require income producing and we are purely residential. State tax credits did not make sense at this point in my life to offset the additional costs of application and “doing it their way”.

What was this property?
In 1931 the three buildings were consolidated into Hogshead Pharmacy which is now occupied by Black Swan Book Store. Later, it became a Newbury’s 5 and dime, then became Advanced Auto, and most recently Short Circuit Electronics.

– February 2018