The History of The Apple Basket
Updated: Jul 7
The history of The Apple Basket began in the spring of 1881 when a shopkeeper from Baltimore by the name of J.W. Latham opened the doors of his new general store: Latham’s Bargain Goods.
Born in 1852, Latham relocated to Saint Mary’s County in the 1870s, eventually building his new store in Laurel Grove, MD. He prided himself on offering “Better Goods for the Same Money, and Same Goods for Less Money”. College-educated, ambitious, and hard-working, J. Woodley Latham wore several hats. Not only was he a shopkeeper, he was a postmaster and also served as a Justice of the Peace.
The country store was a rural precursor to modern Walmarts, just on a much smaller scale. Latham’s Bargain Goods carried a wide variety of goods including food, medicine, hardware, sewing notions, millinery, clothing, shoes, pots & pans, farm equipment, seeds, and fertilizer.
While some stores offered customers the ability to pay on credit, Mr. Latham explained to his customers that in order to keep prices low, he would not sell on credit. He wrote the following:
“A merchant to sell on credit must charge more for his goods to make good the loss caused by those who don’t pay…I have marked all goods at the lowest possible prices and the small profit I get will not permit me to sell on credit or make good the loss I would have on bad bills, so I will sell for just as cheap as I possibly can for the cash, hence save you money.”
With the exception of a few years during the great depression, the Latham family continued operating Latham’s Bargain Goods until the 1950s. In the 1960s, the building was sold and became an antique store known as Family Flower Antiques. Then, in the 1970s it was purchased by Jeannette Kite - a professional crafter and entrepreneur who opened her craft business, God's Creations in the old store.
The next chapter began in the late spring/early summer of 1992. Charlene Tsirigotis owned a small antique & gift shop in Solomons, Maryland called The Apple Basket. One day, as she drove past the old Latham store (now God’s Creation), she spotted Mrs. Kite coming out of the store. On a whim, or perhaps due to Divine intervention, Charlene pulled into the store and explaining how she needed a larger shop for her growing business asked if Kite would consider selling her the building.
Incredibly, just the night before Jeannette had prayed to God to send her someone to purchase the store. It was meant to be and despite many obstacles that could have derailed the sale, everything worked out and the rest, as they say, is history.
In July of 2023, Charlene and Nick Tsirigotis, owners of The Apple Basket, celebrated 40 years in business. Charlene is a self-taught floral designer and antique dealer who runs this charming emporium filled with general store memorabilia of yesteryear. During that time they have enlarged and expanded this historic landmark into Southern Maryland’s most delightful place to shop for gifts, jewelry, antiques, and so much more!