Keep up with Country Roads!

 This blog has been archived so that Sue's writing can be shared. 

For County Roads updates, visit our website and blog.



It’s been a rough year for us. As many of you know, we lost Sue, our matriarch, mom, and Country Roads founder somewhat unexpectedly just a few months ago, in November. 2020 was a tough year for everyone, and running a small business – especially dealing with being closed for over two months at the start of the pandemic - added all sorts of challenges and stresses we had never before faced…but nothing prepared us for losing Sue.

Just two months (to the day) after her death, we were given notice on our lease in our main corner building. We had occupied that space since the day Country Roads opened on January 1st, 1993. We had no plan or anticipation of leaving it, and it pains us greatly to have had to dismantle what Sue quite literally built so many years ago, especially knowing how much pride and joy she took in this shop, and how much she wanted her children and grandchildren to keep running it.

We are NOT closing. We have downsized to our two other adjoining buildings, where you may have noticed a lot of redecorating happening over the past few months. Our new address is 216 W. Chapman, our new door just one door down from our original one. We are excited about our remodel, and all the hard work our vendors have done to make this happen.

Excited as we are about our new look, we are still very disappointed. We wanted to stay where we were, especially in the immediate aftermath of losing Sue. That building carries nearly thirty years of history for our Country Roads family. Our story isn’t unique, unfortunately - as Old Town Orange has grown in popularity in the past decade, many other long time small businesses have found themselves in a similar situation.

As we look at what has happened over the past few months, we know we are lucky we are to have generations of long-time customers, their children, and some of their grandchildren coming in to keep us smiling! To know you all, know your families, AND your awesome dogs that come in to see us – it’s amazing! Our business is more than one family, it’s multiple generations of several families that work here, and it’s also dozens of vendors and antique dealers that generate income from what we do in these walls. We know many of you were heartbroken over losing Sue, and have shown great support with our latest challenge, and we are very thankful for that – it’s quite literally what has gotten us through the past few months.

So, as is our nature, we are forging on, doing what we do, and we’ll be seeing you still, just one door down, where things might look a bit different, but the spirit is still there.


Celebrating Sue




Country Roads is very sad to share the news that our matriarch passed away last week. Sue Jackson was a hurricane in a Hawaiian shirt, walking these floors for nearly 30 years, telling stories, making people laugh, and teaching everyone around her lessons in kindness and resiliency on a daily basis. Generous to a fault, funny, tough, and thoughtful, her presence was central to our shop from the day she opened it in January of 1993, all the way until the last day she was last here, just a few weeks ago on Halloween. There is simply no way of expressing how much we miss her and how hard this past week has been.


The stories we have heard over the last few days - adventures in looking for dead rodents, effective ways of dealing with obnoxious customers, acts of generosity - have been a reminder both of what we have lost, but also of the legacy she will leave.


Her three children that will carry on her work - Brande, Katie and Bryce - were quite literally raised in this shop, and she provided countless first jobs to SO MANY other people who consider her family, too. She loved her sister, Teri, her son-in-law Vinny and daughter-in-law Justine, and, let’s be honest, above all else, her five grandkids: Riley, Bodhi, Morgan, Brooklyn and Charlie. She looooved being a grandma, and in recent years, it came to define her as much as her business did - if you came by the shop, you’d hear about her grandkids, and she’d ask about yours.


She built a business that taught her kids how to work hard, how to persevere, how to count change in their heads, how to do what is right…and it also provided them with a second family. Carol, Yesi and Matt were her ‘other’ kids, she loved them just as fiercely as her own, and they are grieving her loss just a deeply. We are very grateful for their dedication to keep the store running for us this past week, though it was an incredibly difficult thing for them to do, and a huge thanks also goes out to Cheryl, Penny and Sharon for coming in and working too, even though they are also in mourning.  A big thanks to the many of you who reached out and offered to help us this week as well, it’s really an incredible testament to how much love she created in these walls over the years. We appreciate every single one of you - and we did Sue right, the last thing she would have EVER wanted would be for us to close up for a day to spend time crying! :)


Born in Long Beach in 1951, Sue threw up in the cafeteria line in the third grade when she was at Patrick Henry elementary school, but ran off and blamed it on another kid. In high school she liked to sing along to the Beach Boys, using her mom’s ironing board as a surfboard to complete the experience …until it collapsed under her one day. She was also fond of interrupting her sister Teri’s church group meetings by playing ‘Maggie’s Farm’ on repeat very loudly. She went to sooooo many awesome concerts in the late 60s and 70s: the Rolling Stones were her favorite, but she also saw Elton John and the Who and Simon & Garfunkle among many others.  She attended CSUF in the early 70s, a double major in sociology and American Studies. She frequently volunteered on a Navajo reservation in Arizona while in college - many years later, the family that she stayed with on the reservation came and visited her family when she was living in Lakewood.  She was the whole world to her kids when they were little: the room mom, the cheerleader, the one pushing them to try a little harder, and to be a little nicer. She carried that same energy into being a grandma, too – she was ALWAYS there for her grandkids. She was a huge huge huge presence in the life of those she loved. She was a hilarious friend and could always be counted on to stir up a little (or a lot) of good natured shit.


In 1992, she opened up her first store, Battered Barn, on south Glassell. Her parents had been into antiques, restoring and selling at swap meets after they retired in the 1980s, so perhaps it was in her blood. She opened up Country Roads in January of 1993 and has been the heart of the shop ever since. She loved to write about the ‘batshit crazy Sundays’ at the store (people ARE crazier on Sundays!) on her blog (mycountryroads.blogspot.com) and her least favorite thing to hear from a customer was “I have a question...”, because, for reals, just ask it already, lol! She was a writer, publishing both on her blog and in letters and in articles for all sorts of antique publications and the Orange Plaza Review. All those stories from those 28 years of business? Well, they are gonna take an entire book to tell.


So we are going to try to do a book - it was always her dream to publish a collection of those stories, and we are going to try to make it happen. We hope to throw a big 70th birthday party for her next summer, if we are able to. We are having a small semi-private event for her this Sunday in our garden; if you’d like to attend, please reach out. But what we are going to do above all else is ensure that her legacy lives on.


At the end of the day, she loved nothing more than going out to eat with her family or friends, or to be sitting in her backyard listening to her iPod with her Bose headphones and a Corona. As I write this, I am doing that very thing to honor her as best as I can…but really, there is simply no way to put into words what she meant to us. We have a huge hole in our hearts right now, one that will one day, we know, not feel so quite empty, but one that will never totally be filled up, either.


If you’d like to honor Sue this week, we have a few ideas. She really lived by the idea of ‘because nice matters’, so, try to do something nice, big or small. Donate to Joanie’s Purse Project; they collect toiletries and bags for women in need and distribute them throughout Orange County, Country Roads is a drop off location. Make a donation to the Seal Beach Animal Shelter. Have a Corona and toast her. And please share your stories with us - we love hearing them, it keeps her with us.


She created something really incredible with Country Roads, and that is a legacy that her three children and her grandchildren will continue. One of the best things that happened in the last few months was that Sue got to work with her oldest grandchild, Riley, as Riley started to learn the business. She got to see that the next generation was in place, learning and growing from this thing that she created, and it means the world to us. When people ask ‘who is in charge now?’ we will tell them that Sue still is - the choices we make, the way we continue on is done with her guidance.


There is no way we could possibly say aeverything we want to say about her in this one post. So we won’t. We’ll continue to tell her stories and laugh and put into practice what she taught us, and keep her with us every single day as we continue to keep this incredible business that she built going strong for the next generation that will learn and grow from it like we did.




New Year Day sale: 2020 edition!

It's hard to believe that 2020 is almost here!

As we enter our 28th year of business in Old Town Orange, we want to thank all of you who have played such a big part of our lives over the years - we couldn't have come this far without your ongoing support.

This is also an invitation to come join us for our annual New Year Day Sale! We’ll be open from  10am to 3pm and have store-wide discounts. It’s a great time to freshen up your look, pick up some vintage pieces to help with organizing, or grab some plants to spruce up your garden...

The first 30 guests will be entered to win a Country Roads gift certificate, too!

Happy New Year from our family to yours!


Happy birthday, Larry!

We are thinking of our friend Larry today, on what would have been his birthday!

Larry wouldn't want any of us to be sad on this day, that's for sure - so, in true Larry fashion, we ask that you take a minute and strike up a conversation with a stranger, buy someone a coffee or a cookie... and make sure you are saving your money for future investments! ;)

If you missed the piece we wrote about Big Lar for the Plaza Review back in June, you can read it below.

Happy Birthday, Larry - we all miss you!


Remembering our friend Larry

By Brande Jackson

Larry Watts was not one to make an unannounced entrance. In fact, much to the opposite, he typically walked through the doors with a loud “Larry is in the house!” before taking seat at his usual spot.

The world is a little quieter these days, as it lost one of its funniest and biggest personalities last month. We are sad to share that our friend Larry passed away after an extended illness in May. Larry and his wife Debbie have been an integral part of Country Roads for many years, and we’ll never forget his laughter, stories, and kindness.

A veteran of both the Vietnam War (he was drafted shortly after graduating from Fremont High School in Los Angeles in 1967) and the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, he and Debbie also went on to open a flower shop in Costa Mesa that they ran for several years before downsizing and joining us at Country Roads.

If you’ve stopped into our store during the last several years, you probably met ‘Big Lar’. He was the ‘unofficial greeter’ at Country Roads. You’d typically NOT find him helping out Debbie in her spaces, as there simply weren’t enough people to talk to back there, plus, doing “work work” meant less time to chat! Instead, you’d find him perched on the bench in the front of our counter, greeting everyone who came in - and we mean EVERYONE - with his trademark ‘hey, what’s going on?’ If you replied with something interesting? Well, you’d elicit his trademark “daaaammmmn!” in response!

You could also find him holding court in our garden, striking up conversations with everyone. I can’t tell you how many times I’d be working and notice Larry deep in talks with someone who had sat down and joined him. A half hour would pass, or maybe an hour. Later I’d ask him if an old friend had come by. ‘Nah, we just met!’ would always be the reply. We often use the expression ‘never met a stranger’ to describe someone – in the case of Larry, it was totally true.  Yesi remembers that “he connected and engaged in sometimes long conversations with customers. He loved to hear stories, and people enjoyed his as well.” He’d find something to connect with – stocks? news? weather? – and then it was game on!

If he wasn’t talking to people while at the shop, he was calling us - looking typically for Katie, Yesi or Carol, to just ‘check his sales’, but mostly just to shoot the shit. We’d be crazy busy, the phone would ring, and Larry’s name would pop up – uh oh, do we have time? There was no such thing as a short conversation with Larry! Carol says she will always remember “his laugh, and his big heart. He was always telling stories and making us laugh. You really didn’t even have to know Larry and he would still talk to you. He was a kind, beautiful person with a big heart.”

It’s those little things we’ll miss the most - his presence on that bench, entertaining us on even the busiest of days with his stories, his phone calls, and of course his constant unsolicited but useful investment advice! Katie says the trademark phrase she’ll always remember is “scared money ain’t going make you no money”, something his father taught him. I loved talking to him about his experiences growing up in south Los Angeles during the 1950s and 1960s. Larry could call things out as they were, but he always seemed to maintain his sense of humor and perspective about it all.

As his family described him at his memorial service, he was a champion of anyone who was working to better themselves - his experiences, it’s safe to say, had taught him that things aren’t always going to be easy, but put in the effort, and rewards will follow.

Likewise, if your kid is hustling and doing a fundraiser for school, Larry would be the first one in with a donation, no questions asked.  Yesi remembers that “he was always so good to me and the girls, he left us with many wonderful memories and stories, and was always there to encourage us to keep pushing, and work hard.” 

Larry would ‘share the love’ in other ways, too. He was very fond of the cookies at Blue Frog Bakery, sending Carol down with money to pick up a big bag to share with everyone. You simply couldn’t leave for the day unless you took one of his cookies!

We’ve decided the best way to celebrate Larry is to encourage people to live like he did: friendly, funny, and talkative. So, next time you are in our shop, take a seat at ‘Larry’s table’ in our garden, strike up a conversation, make a new friend, get someone to laugh and think. Maybe pick up some cookies from Blue Frog to share, too. Leave everyone you meet with his favorite farewell of  ‘peace’. Larry would have wanted you to!


Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope you are enjoying this most wonderful time of the year!

The end of the year - and the decade! - is of course the perfect time to reflect and give thanks. 2019 marked our 26th year in business here in Old Town Orange. There is no way we could have ever possibly imagined, way back when we opened our doors in 1993, all people that would come through and make our shop the place that it is today. We have not one, not two, but THREE generations of family that have now made this place a big part of their lives.
We believe in the important role that small businesses play in communities, and appreciate all the support that has been shown for ours over these many years. We are also very proud to provide an opportunity for all of our many vendors to get a chance to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, too. Visiting the small businesses of Old Town Orange is never about supporting one business owner, but instead, an entire network of people that have carved out a living doing things that they love.


Join us on Saturday, November 30th from 10am - 5pm for a celebration of shopping local and shopping small this season. 
The first 50 guests can enter to win one of two gift certificates that we'll be giving away that day. We'll have hot cocoa, treats, holiday decor, good vibes, and a plant sale, too!


Happy Holidays!

It’s hard to believe that a new year is already here!

This is big year for us, as 2018 will be our 25th year in business! We could have never imagined, when we first opened our doors in 1993, what the years that followed would bring. 

What we do know - especially as we reflect upon what matters most during this holiday season - is that we are so very very very grateful to all the amazing people over these years that have made the Country Roads family what it is. Small businesses like ours have thrived because of people like you, and we are so thankful for that.

We’ve spent these years in Old Town Orange making friends, watching children grow up, and seeing lots and lots of vintage goodies find new homes with the community that our shop has been lucky to have. And, to start this anniversary year off right, we want to celebrate!

Start the new year off with a fresh style!

To kick off the new year, as we do every year, we’ll be holding our annual New Year’s Day sale. We’ll be open from 10am - 3pm, throwing a store wide sale & birthday party!  

Stop in, say hello, and if possible, share a memory you have of our shop - we are looking for photos, stories, and more! You can post them on social media pages (you can follow up on Facebook and Instagram), post a comment here, or send us a message. We are going to compile all the memories and share them later on this year.

Thank you for a great 2017, and here’s to all that 2018 will bring! 
We hope your new year is filled with joy, love and light. 
See you on January 1st!

-Sue & the Country Roads family


Thanksgiving at Country Roads

Thanksgiving Memories

It's been quite awhile since I have written a Blog post.  I could list a hundred reasons why I haven't.  But the truth is Facebook ha always been quick and easy!  I'm like most of us.  Things such as business, life and just being busy most of the time  makes for a good excuse not to go back to one of my old favorite things, blogging!  So tonight as I go back to the old  days, I have promised myself that I am going to try and get back to the good old blogging days.
 I have always loved sharing pictures of Country Roads on Facebook and my Blog as well. Her and I. Country Roads have been together for the past twenty five years or so. I am truly amazed how fast the years have flown by. So, as I slowly get back into sharping up my blogging skills, I hope you will stop by from time to time for a visit. I'm dusting off that part of my brain that use to much better writing a blog post than this one! 

Just a reminder, Country Roads Antiques will be hosting a REALLY BIG sale beginning the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 25th from 10am until close on Sunday, November 27th. We look forward to seeing you all.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

"Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving, but every day of your life.  Appreciate and never for granted all you have"!


Country Roads Presidents Week-end Sale!

 We've got a really BIG week-end coming up here at Country Roads! On Saturday morning, at 10am, we begin our big Presidents Week-end Sale. What I love about this sale is that it begins on Saturday morning at 10am, and continues through close on Monday, President's day! There are some wonderful percentages off that are being offered to you during this three day sale.  Here is a very small sampling of some of the great stuff we have here at Country Roads!

All of us here at Country Roads are looking forward to seeing you this week-end! And if you enjoy our photos of Country Roads above, you can always find a daily picture posted on Facebook at 
"Country Roads Antiques & Gardens"!

Take care,


Country Roads New Years Day Sale!

 I love to start off the brand new 2016 with a big sale! Each and every year on New Years Day, Country Roads hosts a really big sale! We just want to thank our wonderful customers by offering great stuff at great prices! Country Roads has the best of the best when it comes to our customers! Please enjoy a few pictures that I took today at "the store' as we fondly refer Country Roads as!

Country Roads will be open on New Years Day from 10am - 4pm. We sure hope to see many of our favorite customers!  Happy New Year! You all mean the world to us!!

"Let us make our future now and let us make today's dreams a reality"

Malala Yousafzai