By Jesse Wood
Feb. 14, 2014. There is a new business coming to downtown Boone, and the owners are giving away a $200 gift certificate to the person that comes up with the winning name of the soon-to-be-open store located on the bottom floor of The Shoppes at Farmers Hardware.
Not only that, but they are asking for your suggestions on what products to sell, too. While stocking ideas will be accepted indefinitely, the deadline to suggest a name ends Feb. 28. To enter the contest and suggest ideas, click here.
About a year ago, Sam Parker, owner of Our Daily Bread, “threw out the idea” of transforming the bottom floor of the eclectic emporium into a provisions’ market to Jason and Brandon Langdon, fourth-generation owners and operators of The Shoppes at Farmers Hardware.
After speaking with the receptive Langdon brothers, Parker approached Jeff Collins and Greg Parsons, owners of Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants, about collaborating on the enterprise, which is slated to open in April.
With the owners of the market – Collins, Parsons and Parker – also being the proprietors of Peabody’s and Our Daily Bread, Collins said the market, while influenced by those two businesses, will be its “own identity” that will sell whatever the consumers demand, whether they be early risers or a part of the late-night crowd.
“We will totally be up for, open to evolving to what the actual demands are. If it turns out that it is 80 percent office supplies, so be it,” Collins said. “If they want ball-point pens and a 12 pack of PBR, I’ll carry that.”
From wine and beer and packaged impulse foods to coffee, fresh fruit, office supplies and gift baskets, Parker said “no boundaries” exist for the downtown convenience store that will cater to everyone within proximity.
“Like any business, Peabody’s [for example] isn’t the same as when they first started,” Parker said. “We will listen to demand and grow with demand. That is kind of a neat thing. I’ve always been in the restaurant business and you hope your product is in demand. Here it is a different game.”
One thing the business has immediately going it is the location on Depot Street in one of the more historic, attractive and recognizable buildings in the heart of downtown Boone.
“We love that old building,” Collins said.
The market will have two points of access – one off of Depot Street during all hours of operation, which are pre-detemined to be 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and the other from inside The Shoppes at Farmers Hardware.
As Parker said, “Location, location, location.”
Currently, renovations are in progress as contractors strip the bottom level down to its bones and work to keep the old-timey feel of the place with the original bare brick behind metal shelving. Along with stained concrete, the exposed hemlock rafters and chestnut beams that run four-stories high will be visible, too.
An awning on Depot Street will be added and lights will brighten up the property from the inside and outside “to make it visible from across the street,” Collins said, adding that he wants to work with neighbor businesses such as Magic Cycles and Black Cat Burrito to clean up the graffiti tags and light up Depot Street during the evening.
“To really make it a viable cross street [rather than the] byway it is right now,” Collins said.
As Parker said, “One way to attract people is to make it attractive, and one thing you have to do well with any startup business is quality product, service and ambience.”
All involved mentioned how explicitly clear and onboard the Town of Boone’s Planning & Inspections department has been regarding this endeavor.
“The Town of Boone, contrary to popular belief, couldn’t have been more helpful. As far as this project goes, they have been extremely helpful,” Parsons said, specifically praising Planning Director Bill Bailey, building inspector Todd Miller and development coordinator Jane Shook.