Old Town open in new building

By Vicki Hyatt | Aug 16, 2013
Photo by: Vicki Hyatt Niki Henry and Charles Umberger, Old Town Bank president, stand in the lobby of their new bank building, which opened for business Monday.

At 6 p.m. last Friday, Old Town Bank on South Main Street in Waynesville closed as usual. By Monday morning, employees were greeting customers in their new building just a few hundred feet away.

A team of bank employees met Saturday over a 7 a.m. breakfast to review the moving plan details, and other teams reported at 8 and then 9 a.m. to help move files, supplies and equipment into the bank’s new permanent home. By the end of the day, the work was done.

While the move may have seemed seamless, it was one that required every detail to be thought out in advance, said Charles Umberger, the bank’s chief executive officer.

“We’ve been working on and planning this move for six months,” he said. “When you move a bank, so much of what we deal with depends on electronics and computers.”

In addition to getting phone lines switched, computer systems operational and employees set up to do business in their new work space, there was the new automatic teller machine to set up and the need to ensure confidential records were kept secure during the entire process.

The move happened ahead of schedule, something Umberger attributed to general contractor Clark and Leatherwood, who he said have been great to work with. Original plans called for the building to be completed by October, and that date was pushed to September as work progressed. Work went so quickly that a mid-August move-in date was possible, but there is still more work to do, Umberger said.

The temporary building that is now on the back of the bank’s lot needs to be taken down so the area can be paved for parking, a project expected to at least take a month.

"It's still a construction site," Umberger said, noting the grand opening festivities will be delayed until October when all the work is complete.

Construction began less than a year ago on the two-story, $2.3 million project.

The building's rock column and brick exterior is complimented by earth-tone colors inside.

Lurissa Hendrix, Old Town's human resources/corporate secretary, worked with Carolyn Taylor, Shannon Putnam of Mountain Design and Kathryn Greeley of Kathryn Greeley Designs to put the finishing touches on the inside.

"We started with the rock work and tile, then decided if we wanted warm or cool colors," Hendrix said. "Once you made those decisions, others fell into place."

The paint, furniture, flooring and fabrics are all in place, and the last piece of decorating is to place the artwork.

Hendrix said the bank already has a number of pieces created by Western North Carolina residents, and may need more to fill out the decorating scheme.

The move into its permanent building is something Umberger said is a giant step forward.

"It shows the community the Old Town Bank here to stay," he said. "We are committed to this community and we will be here for years and years to come."

Hnery Niki