It started on their honeymoon in Paris.
In 1997, Robert H. Ballard founded r.h. ballard shop & gallery which is located in "Little" Washington, VA. His experience spans over 40 years in the art world as a painter, teacher, gallery director, and museum curator in the following locales: New Zealand, San Francisco, D.C., and West Virginia. He started his own art gallery business in 1997, and he and Joanie married in April of 1998. They honeymooned in Paris. That's where their passion for French design, fine art, home decor blossomed.
Joanie's background was in professional theatre, music, teaching, with a short stint in design with French fabric firm, Brunschwig & Fils. She came on board to help expand the Ballard business in 2002 when they purchased a 1929 building right on Main Street in Little Washington, Virginia. They moved into the living quarters above the business and began their journey.
Together, they combined their love of European design, artful, unique products and merchandise to build a formidable shopping experience for a diverse clientele. They fill two floors with an eclectic assortment of fine gifts, gourmet foods, home decor, vintage objects, fine art, rugs, and men's and women's accessories and more. The shop and gallery is always evolving, changing with new and unusual merchandise which is added to their hand-picked collections.
They have received received numerous accolades. Most notably they were recently voted one of the "2016 Best Gift Shops" in Central Virginia by Readers of Virginia Living Magazine. The Editors of SOUTHERN LIVING MAGAZINE rated their business as one of the "Top 50 Shops In The South." Other notable press can be found in the Washington Post, Richmond Magazine and the Washingtonian Magazine.