Businesses on the move
Several new businesses are popping up in Waynesville, Canton and Maggie Valley while others are getting ready to open or move to a different town.
On Main Street Waynesville, Davis Family Furniture has opened up shop in the former Main Street Art Co-op building at 93 North Main Street. The store has been open for about three weeks, and Manager Kim Davis said is thrilled with the location.
"I grew up on Main Street Canton so I'm very happy being on Main Street in Waynesville," she said.
Owner Keith Davis also has a furniture store in Canton and is looking for a new Asheville location since the Biltmore Mall shutdown in preparation for its conversion to on outlet mall. The downtown Waynesville location offers a huge variety of furniture and decor at affordable prices, Kim Davis said. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Across the street from Davis Home Furniture is another building with a soon-to-be new tenant. Main Street Perks vacated the storefront and Remax will be opening an office there.
The former Main Street store Temptations went out of business late last year as the owners retired and now a sign hangs on the wall saying that Elsie's Fine Resale store will open there soon.
Blue Ridge BBQ Company also closed late last year and will soon be replaced with Karma Cafe, which will serve breakfast and lunch.
Over in Maggie Valley, Cataloochee Ski Area has purchased the former Hillbilly Grocery building on Soco Road and turned it into a skiing clothing, gear and ski rental shop. The storefront opened for business the day before Thanksgiving — just in time for Cataloochee's ski season.
While winter is a difficult time for many Haywood businesses, the ski business is booming this time of year.
"It's been a busy holiday season," said employee Kat Digiovanni. "We ran out of skis one day."
Employee Lauren Wood said it was the only shop that sells all the gear you need plus the lift tickets "so it's kind of a one-stop shop before you head up to Cataloochee." Skis can be rented and returned at the shop.
The store is open 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday.
Curtis Henry, a Texas native who has spent plenty of time in Louisiana, will soon be opening a New Orleans style restaurant serving authentic cajun and Creole food on Branner Avenue in Waynesville.
Henry owned a barbecue restaurant in Texas 15 years ago before moving to Haywood County shortly after. Here, he was part owner of Carolina Nights, a dinner theater in Maggie Valley. Now he's ready to get back into the restaurant business with A Taste of New Orleans.
Henry said he had been looking for an appropriate place for his restaurant for the past year and looked at about five empty buildings before settling on the former site of Maria's Mexican restaurant, which occupied the building for several years.
He selected the site because he knew that plenty of locals use Branner Avenue to bypass the traffic on Main Street.
Henry said Haywood County is in need of a new specialty restaurant, and he thinks food inspired by the French Quarter will fit in well here.
"I wanted to do something different," he said. "A lot of people know about New Orleans style food and ask about where they can get that kind of food around here."
The restaurant will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week year-round as a way to cater to locals, he said.
On the breakfast menu, customers will find traditional and French specialties such as omelets, biscuits and gravy and beignets. During lunch and dinner, the restaurant will serve gumbo, jambalaya, Po Boys and much more. There will also be a bar serving beer and wine.
"I've been around this kind of food all my life," Henry said.
An in-house pastry chef is moving from New Orleans to Haywood County to work at the restaurant and will be serving up authentic beignets and other authentic sweet treats. French bread will also be sold at the front counter. Delivery and takeout will be available
During the summer, he imagines crawfish and low country boils in the parking lot along with live music.
The decor will be reminiscent of restaurants in the French Quarter, he said, with mismatched chairs, grapevines and touches of gold. He and his family are working feverishly to ready the restaurant for his targeted Feb. 21 opening day.
The restaurant will be located at 67 Branner Avenue.
After 35 years of operation in Waynesville, engineering, design and consulting firm Reece, Noland & McElrath, Inc. will be moving to Canton by the end of March.
The firm began modestly by its three namesakes, Jeff Reece, David Noland and Bill McElrath, who worked out of Reece's basement. The firm has now evolved to 17 engineers.
Steve Kaufman, president of the company, said they had been looking for a place to relocate within the county and found the vacant building at 94 Main Street in Canton fit all their needs. Many Canton residents remember the building was once Dick Schulman's clothing store.
Kaufman said the move was needed because a large portion of the firm's clients are east of Haywood County and it was a more centralized location for many of their employees.
The firm will be making renovations inside and out with the help of a grant offered by the town which was funded by NC Step.
Employees will be using a municipal parking lot off Mears Avenue and the public will be able to access the firm from Main Street.
"Though we regret leaving Waynesville, we have felt very welcomed by the people of Canton," Kaufman said.
The Canton Mayor and Board of Aldermen prompted a warm round of applause for the company and thanked them for choosing their town during the most recent board meeting.