Great Depression & World War II Stafford Homefront Home Industries Markets

Home Industries Markets

In an effort to help Virginia’s low-income farmers who were struggling as a result of the Great Depression, the Farm Security Administration established Home Industries Markets in various areas of the state. One of these was located in Stafford County on U. S. Route 1 near Potomac Run and was operational by June of 1940. The building erected for this purpose remains standing and is now used by the Great Outdoors shop. Older local Stafford residents will remember this as the Old Virginia Gift Shop. The markets offered places for farm families to sell their handicrafts. A newspaper explained, “The market is operated on a non-profit basis, the price of the articles being fixed by the owner with approval of the standards committee and a charge of 33 1-3 per cent added to cover expenses. Handicraft and food products from all Virginia’s 100 counties are included in the $700 stock of the Stafford unit. Among the articles offered are plum puddings, fruit cakes, canned pickles, hand-woven rugs, crochet work, bundles of lightwood, bedspreads, baskets, trays, hand-painted pictures, pocketbooks, shuck mats, ash trays, children’s bootees, dolls, neckties and numerous other things. Everything sold in the shop is handmade. They range in price from 25 cents to $45. The highest priced article on sale is a bedspread that sells for $45. There are bundles of lightwood neatly tied in ribbon which were fashioned by a woman who hopes to buy a cow with the proceeds. She lives in Campbell County. It is the first shop of its kind ever established in Virginia and is unique in that it is a non-profit undertaking and is designed to help the small farmer.” Mrs. Catherine Powers (1895- 1976) of Stafford managed the shop.
Old Dominion Home Industries Market photographed around 1941
Interior of the Old Dominion Home Industries shop showing the wide variety of homemade goods offered for sale