Happy Pride Month! In support of and solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development is highlighting Greg Wigle and W. Kirk Denton and celebrating their substantial impact on Frederick County.
Greg Wigle and his partner, W. Kirk Denton, are entrepreneurs and co-owners of the Wren’s Nest in Middletown, MD as well as the Rhosymedre Design Group Incorporated and Catoctin Construction Management. Additionally, they are owners of rental spaces on Airbnb.
Back in 2000, Wigle and Denton had been looking for a space to rent in the Frederick area. On their way home from a trip, they saw a “For Sale” sign in the building on 100-104 W. Main Street in Middletown. This wasn’t your standard space for sale--the building was built in 1829 and was rich with Frederick history. It only had a few owners before Wigle and Denton, who decided to purchase the building, becoming its fifth owners.
Wigle and Denton have made it their mission to keep the building in as much of its original condition as possible while finding modern and creative ways to utilize it. Their vision was always to create a relaxed, community space, like a town “living room.” After some trial and error, they landed on the idea of creating a collaborative workspace.
They’ve created Wren’s Nest to be a safe, comfortable space where people are welcome to work, gather and interact with one another and be productive. Virtual meetings can be conducted in this intricately designed historic building with a bohemian, artistic vibe. Wren’s Nest has a solid aesthetic thanks to Wigle and Denton’s interior decorating experience, artistic sensibilities and expertise in historic preservation.
Wigle shares that they brought the same commitment to excellence in designing Wren’s Nest as they do to all of their interior design projects with clients: “We’ve established an identity over the years by helping with town events. People call on us to have a level of continuity and a unified look, and we demand as much of ourselves as we would on a project for a client.”
The various spaces within Wren’s Nest boast an intriguing history. The meeting space called ‘Rudy’s Hall,’ is currently a space for work, relaxation or meetings and was used in 1864 to treat the soldiers wounded in the Battle of South Mountain. After the war, it was turned into an entertainment hall known as Rudy’s Hall. ‘The Living Room’ at Wren’s Nest, originally the town mercantile store, welcomed locals for complimentary coffee, tea, and refreshments and has been used for that purpose historically, welcoming guests to Middletown for almost 190 years. It is now home to Mid-Maryland Farm market, another LGBTQIA+ business. The Vine Garden Plant Outlet is now doing business from the Wren’s Nest back gardens. Another room within Wren’s Nest is ‘Miss Elva’s Parlor,’ named for Miss Elva Shafer, who lived her entire life in this building.
It’s been a long and arduous process to maintain the building and this labor of love was born out of Denton’s work as a historic preservationist. They’ve undertaken ongoing projects to revitalize the building and have received some support through local grants.
“We’re fortunate to be involved with [Middletown] Main Street and have taken advantage of the help they’ve offered. As we work to make Wren’s Nest a destination and a social and artistic hub, we have a reciprocal relationship with Main Street.”
Before COVID-19 hit in 2020, they worked to open a gallery within the building to host art shows. Needless to say, this had to be put on hold. They’re excited to be opening a new gallery show on June 18th to celebrate their Grand Opening. Their goals for the new gallery space include bringing in people who follow artists, as well as those who enjoy shopping! They’ve opened a storefront in the building, selling their clients’ items that are also available in their eBay store.
Like many businesses in the area, they’re happy to report that their subscribership is now increasing.
“People are there every day, and this creates a happier feeling in the building. We’re excited that people are beginning to gather together in fellowship again.”
Wigle and Denton are constantly finding creative ways to expand their entrepreneurial ventures. Next, they’re offering some special incentives in their Airbnb spaces--when people rent mid-week, they also get a pass to Wren’s Nest.
As Wigle says, “I think people are hungry to be out of their four walls.” Wren’s Nest offers a creatively stimulating change of scenery and a space to begin connecting with people in person again. The timing for that couldn’t be better!
Visit the Wren’s Nest website to learn more: https://wrensnest.co/
The Wren’s Nest is located at 100-104 W Main St Middletown MD 21769.
Join their mailing list via their website to find out more details about their art gallery Grand Opening on Friday, June 18!