When Martha McMillin opened the Preserving Place on the ground floor of the White Provisions District in 2013, the shop—which sold small-batch jams, preserves, pickles, and condiments and hosted canning classes—instantly became a culinary hot spot. Not only did McMillin’s products, such as Mama’s Strawberry Jam and homemade Catsup+, become a crucial part of my own kitchen arsenal, but the events she hosted at the shop soon became some of the hottest culinary tickets in town. I attended a sit-down meal curated by former Dynamic Dish chef Dave Sweeney. 8ARM’s star pastry chef Sarah Dodge made a name for herself at Preserving Place as a class coordinator, including one on how to make her swoon-worthy biscuits.
When I heard McMillan was closing the store on April 30 to restart her law career, I was crestfallen. “The reason I decided to close Preserving Place is pretty simple: it was time,” she told me when I reached out via email. “We had a great run and accomplished a lot, and I am so proud of that. But now it is time for me to return to practicing law in-house. I missed it and am looking forward to being a lawyer again.”
“My family—and friends—are my inspiration for Preserving Place: I wanted to express my love of family, friends, place (the South), and hospitality,” she continued. “I hoped we would earn awards and recognition for making delicious food and could educate folks about [how to cook and preserve good food]. I am happy we did those things.” I’m sure patrons would agree McMillan accomplished her goals.
McMillin says the Preserving Place’s remaining products are on sale in-store for 25 percent off until the shop closes on April 30, and other merchandise is on sale for 50 percent off. She is taking bids for the shop’s professional kitchen equipment (think 24″ ranges), furniture, and fixtures. Bids are due Friday, April 21, and winning bidders will be notified on Monday, April 24. Interested bidders should contact McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of the retail furniture fixtures for sale and Lesley Cavender at email@example.com for a list of the kitchen equipment for sale. There will also be a cash and carry sale starting on Monday, April 24 for small kitchen items and retail merchandising items.
“We had so many dear customers and employees, and it has been wonderful to catch up with so many of them coming in to say goodbye,” McMillin said. “Preserving Place was a great chapter of my life where I made so many new friends that I otherwise never would have met. Now it is time to move on, and I am looking forward to what comes next.”
The Preserving Place was so much more than just a jam shop. It was a space dedicated to the love of everything culinary, with a huge emphasis on education. McMillin’s departure from the culinary world will be as bittersweet as her lemon tomato jam.
1170 Howell Mill Road Northwest, 404-815-5267