The location is space being renovated now right next door to Lexington Avenue Brewery. It is smack dab in the middle of eclectic, independently owned retail shops, craft breweries and restaurants.
Anthropologie, a national chain based in Philadelphia, is owned by Urban Outfitters. That retail chain opened in downtown Asheville five years ago at the corner of Haywood and College streets, in a building that was home to a chain drug store.
When Urban Outfitters opened, it spawned an outcry among some local shop owners, who responded by creating the Asheville Grown Business Alliance, a successful “buy local” program in Asheville. The “Go Local” program has pushed for living wages and raised thousands of dollars for local schools, in addition to all the weight it has put behind urging consumers to spend their dollars with locally owned businesses.
Two years ago, Anthropologie was working hard on another downtown Asheville location near Pritchard Park, so it’s clear that the store has identified Asheville as a hot market. The downtown is exploding with vibrant small business activity and is ground zero for a new wave of hotel building.
That all adds up to thousands more visitors/shoppers to downtown Asheville. It also marks the decline of downtown Asheville as a haven for independents, a rein of some 40 years. Before the oft-talked about decline of downtown, the heart of the city was home to big corporate chains like J.C. Penny and Bon-Worth.
So now the pendulum is beginning its inevitable swing back. Business owners and renters in search of affordable rents will be forced out. A new era will be ushered in. Like it or not, it’s happening.