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Not just a ‘Run-of-the-Mill’ store

California, Md. — The Cecil’s Old Mill building has long been a community staple to residents of St. Mary’s County. A fixture to Cecil’s Historic District, the building had been vacant quite some time. But as of Aug. 8, the building’s newest tenant has officially completed renovations and re-opened the doors of the mill, with big aspirations serving as wind in their sails.

Herring Creek Furniture, owned by Rob and Stacy Seltzer, have created an artistic landscape inside the historic structure over the past seven months. With items from 22 different artists featured along the east-coast for sale inside, the Seltzer’s pride themselves on showcasing pieces that compliment the true authenticity of the mill.

“We felt that our furniture and the mill combined well together,” Rob Seltzer explained. “The furniture would help show the mill and the mill would help show the furniture. We just love the space with all the history of the mill, and of course the location where it's at… Bringing the mill back to life was a challenge, but also enjoyable.”

Effortlessly complimenting the machinery and wooden features along the interior of the building was only made possible with the help of the various artists on display. Pieces such as driftwood sculptures made by Larry Ringgold from Turtlepoint Driftwood Sculptures, help to capitalize on the unique pairing between the mill and the art inside.

Ringgold, with some of his smaller sculptures found throughout the store, was also displaying a jaw-dropping, five-foot lion sculpture called “Napoleon” in the largest of the display rooms. After starting his business 10 years ago, the ex-vocational carpentry teacher found his niche in creating sculptures from washed-up wood that are now featured up and down the east coast.

“I've always been a woodworker, but I just really enjoyed this,” Ringgold said at the mill’s opening. “I find all my own wood, which is so much fun because you never know what you're going to find beach-combing... A couple artists [will] get together to work with driftwood. We fill a boat up, come home, and see what happens.”

While Ringgold has managed to create beautiful large pieces in the past such as mermaids, horses, lions, and even a massive rhino sculpture he made for musician Dave Matthews as a 50th birthday present, there is an abundance of artists featured throughout the mill who have found beauty in smaller places.

Artist Susan Hill, who has been featuring her unique pieces and specialty antiques throughout the county for quite some time, has found her newest home inside the mill. Her pieces, most of which feature something she has found while combing through her waterfront property on St. George’s Island, showcase’s some of Southern Maryland’s most creative offerings.

“I fortunately have quite a lot of acreage on the river,” Hill said. “To keep my sanity, I walk the beach. And I [started picking up beach glass] and picked it up and picked it up and every vessel in my house was full of beach glass. I was becoming a beach glass hoarder but I love it…I’ve found fossils, pottery shards, [but] it's just all history. And I've been doing antiques since I was in my early 20’s and it kind of goes with that. I like to do it.”

When asked how she came into contact with the Seltzer family, Hill made it known that Rob has become more like family to her over the years.

“Actually, I met Rob when he first started doing furniture,” Hill explained. “Way back when I had an antique shop in California, he asked me if I would sell his stuff in my store. He had one or two pieces and it was his beginning efforts, and I sold them. [Now], he’s built three quarters of my house and become really like my other son.”

While the couple is still planning on having bi-annual demonstrations of the historic mill in operation, their future expectations do not stop there. As Stacy Seltzer described, the couple envisioned making Cecil’s Historic District a “tourist spot” in the county.

“We have a lot of future plans to hold events here,” Rob Seltzer said. “Food truck weekends, and we want to start up another art show here… And we want to try to do some kind of big fundraiser to try to get the water wheel working eventually. [We want to] have different kinds of events throughout the year, and make it more of a destination.”

Rob and Stacy would like to thank their families, friends, and the community for the continued support throughout their new venture.

Herring Creek Furniture inside of Cecil’s Old Mill will be opened 10-6pm from Thursday to Saturday, and from 12-5pm on Sundays.

Contact Zach at zach.hill@thebaynet.com.

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