By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Nov. 29, 2019) The Viking Tree Trading Co. opened last week on 114 North Main Street in Berlin and already has become a family affair for the Brushmillers.
Bryan Brushmiller, who owns and operates the Burley Oak Brewing Company and Burley Café in Berlin, bought the building last year. It was formerly home to the Downtown Video store.
At first, he looked for someone to lease the space, but later decided to open a retail store, which became a project for himself and his parents, Debbie and Timothy. His father helped him restore the building and his mother is now helping to operate the business.
“My mom was a manager of a clothing retail store, so I grew up climbing around all these racks with shirts on them, hiding in between them. I have fond memories of that,” Brushmiller said. “I knew my mom was retired and thought it would be cool to open up a retail store, and maybe it would get her out of the house,” Brushmiller said. “And it turns out, she loves it!”
He laughingly recalled his mom calling him last week to ask if it would be OK to bake cookies for Black Friday.
“When my dad and I restored the store and built it out, we had so many people look at the store … and nothing really fit,” Brushmiller said. “It’s been nice to be able to put this together and then build something with my dad. That got him doing something after retirement, and he’s loving creating stuff and building stuff with me. And then, we didn’t really know it at first, but it turns out we built it for mom.”
Brushmiller described the shop as a men’s variety store.
“Our passion for adventure and travel eventually inspired the store,” he said. “So, it’s men’s clothing and expedition accessories.”
Soon, it will also be home to a selection of vinyl records.
“We have about 150 records that we’re going through right now and pricing them all, so we’ll have records in here next week,” Brushmiller said. “I’ve got everything from Clutch to The Beatles.”
He hopes the shop will become a destination, similar to the brewery.
“We want it to be a store where people come to Berlin to visit,” he said. “As brewers, we understand that making things and selling them is what we do, and we make things that are premium quality. It’s the same with this store – we want to make things for this.”
One merchandising idea particularly appeals to Brushmiller.
“We want to be able to employ local people in the sewing industry and I want to make a waxed canvas shirt, so everybody has to have this shirt. I want it to be so hardy and heavy duty that you don’t even need a jacket. Like, it’s waterproof and windproof, but it’s light enough to go inside, but made with all organic materials by local people,” he said. “That’s kind of what I see – actually making something where people come from all around and say, ‘wow, we need to have that shirt – they make it in Berlin, Maryland.’”
For more information, follow “Viking Tree Trading Co” on Instagram or visit www.vikingtreetradingco.com.