Country Memories sells pieces of the past

September 12, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Shoppers can get a glimpse at more than one kind of country memory when they go to the newly renovated Lehman's Mill to buy country accessories.

Cindy Brezler and her husband, Ron Brezler Sr., have renovated the first floor of the historic mill into a retail side to their Country Memories wholesale business, which they operate out of their neighboring home.

The Brezlers opened Lehman's Mill at 19935 Lehmans Mill Road, south of the Maryland-Pennsylvania state line, on Sept. 3.

The store sells items made by Country Memories such as appliqued vests and shirts, dolls, kitchen items and hand-painted tin signs as well as items from 50 to 75 other companies such as stationery, framed prints and upholstered furniture, she said.

"A lot of people will come to see the mill," which has been closed since the spring of 1996 when the last owner died, said Cindy Brezler, 43.


Henry F. Lehman built the mill in 1869 and the Lehman family lived in the house next door until the Brezlers bought it in 1986. Better Foods bought the mill in 1964, using it to make flour and cornmeal until 1996, Ron Brezler said.

Much of the former mill's equipment has been sold, but the Brezlers are using some pieces, such as the mill's scales and grindstone, to display merchandise.

Since the Brezlers bought the mill two years ago they, with the help of friends, sandblasted white paint off the brick walls, tore drywall and insulation off the ceiling, stained the wooden ceiling, and refinished the oak floors.

The mill was painted burgundy and gold to match the house and a front porch was added to the concrete stoop.

The renovations took a year, including replacing floors after removing two storage bins that were more than one-story high, they said.

The couple eventually wants to expand the business beyond the first floor, including possibly a bargain basement. The 15-foot-tall and 8-foot-wide water wheel that used to power the mill is still in the basement.

When they bought the mill, the couple also got two out buildings across the street and a 1948 Dodge pickup truck, with canvas roll-down sides in the back, that Ron Brezler wants to restore to display merchandise.

The couple will have pictures on display in the store that show what the mill looked like in the past, including during the horse and buggy era.

Cindy Brezler started Country Memories in 1981, occasionally holding open houses during the Christmas season out of their Woodmoor home near Halfway.

She moved the wholesale business to her basement in 1986 after moving to Lehmans Mill Road off Marsh Pike.

Brezler said she sells merchandise to shops all over the world.

Lehman's Mill is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information call Lehman's Mill at 301-739-9119.

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