New businesses come to downtown Canton

By DeeAnna Haney | Nov 08, 2013
Cathy Early scoops soft serve ice cream at Papertown Grill.

As alderman candidates in Canton put their focus on economic growth throughout town, some new businesses are already taking up residence downtown.

Among them is the Papertown Grill, located at 153 Main Street. The popular Simple Taste Grill was the most recent occupant of the building.

Restaurant manager Cathy McBride said business has been busy since they opened up in early October, especially on Sundays. The biggest draw about the restaurant so far has been their all-day breakfast menu.

From Belgian waffles to eggs cooked to order, “We’ve got just about anything you could want for breakfast,” McBride said.

They also serve ice cream sundaes, floats and old-fashioned milkshakes.

Decorated in the classic diner look with pictures of vintage model cars on the walls, owner Roger Williams said he remodeled the entire building and opened up to a second dining room to accommodate larger groups of people.

With Evergreen Packaging as a neighbor, Williams said he was inspired to name the restaurant after the industry that practically created Canton.

Papertown Grill is a favorite lunchtime spot for the owners of another new store in downtown Canton. The Blue Maize, an upscale resale and consignment store on Church Street, is within walking distance of the grill at 2 Church Street.

Neal Chastain and Shannon Mason opened the store as a way to offer high-end brand name clothing and accessories at about one-third the original price.  Some of the popular brand names that often show up in the store are Ralph Lauren, Trina Turk, Judith March, Michael Kors, Coach and much more.

“You name it, we’ve got it,” Chastain said.

After working several years in the hospitality business in Asheville, Chastain, a Waynesville native, decided to move back to Canton and strike out on his own.

“I wanted to keep the business in the town that I love very much. The people in Canton are just wonderful,” he said.

More than anything, the two wanted to create a store that not only catered to the local need for high-end clothing, but to offer a special experience for their customers.

“We want customers to feel special whether they spend $4 or $104,” Chastain said.

Just down the road at 70 Main Street is another store that opened in an upstairs space about six months ago. Exclusive Interiors & Décor, owned by Preston Higgins, is filled with unique gifts and home décor items, from hand-woven scarves to owl figurines.

“I’m an interior designer by profession, but I’ve always wanted a gift shop in the mountains,” Higgins said.

A graduate of Sheffied School of Design in New York City, his passion is interior design, going into client’s homes and working from the ground up. He even has a separate room connected to his store set up as a demo room showing the type of work he can do in the home.

Higgins said he loves living and working in Canton and he is slowly seeing downtown business picking up.

The owners of @Home Computer Services, located at 87 Main Street, are also growing by adding a new aspect to their business they call the Retro Gamer.

In addition to computer sales and repairs, they now buy, sell and trade vintage and modern video game consoles and games. Some of the consoles for sale right now include the original Xbox, Playstation II, Wii, Atari 2600 and the original Nintendo. The business carries handheld gaming systems like the Sega Nomad and Atari Lynx.

For those who just want to take a trip down memory lane, the Worths have set up several old gaming consoles upstairs where customers can come play the games of their past including the Emerson Arcadia from 1982 or play Pac Man on the Atari 400.

Adding to the increased traffic in town is Fannie Dorlan’s Country Music and Dance Parlor, located upstairs at 61 ½ Main St. near Penland’s Furniture.

Every Friday and Saturday from 7 to 10:30 p.m., people from all over of all ages pay $8 each to dance and listen to live music. Dorlan stressed that it’s not a professional dance studio — it’s more of a place where people can gather and dance at their leisure.

“They do the regular square dancing, the two step, round dancing. People just do what they want to do. We have a lot of people that just come and listen to music, too,” she said.

She also holds other activities such as 50-50 drawings, cake walks and door prizes.

A Canton native, Dorlan combined her love of music and her hometown to open the dance parlor, which not only brings in locals, but also people from Marion, Franklin and Mars Hill each week. And on the nights she’s open, Higgins said he likes to keep his store open for the extra foot traffic on the street.

“I’ve just been around music all my life, I love people and I love music. We needed something like this for Haywood County — we don’t have that much here," she said.

Dorlan shares the same hope with other business owners that downtown Canton will be packed with people once again.

"I can remember when Canton was just a thriving place and I’d like to see Canton come back to that,” she said.


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