New chain stores coming to Tunnel Road in Asheville: Guitar Center, TrySports, DSW


Three new chain stores are lining up to fill in the new Tunnel Road shopping center anchored by Whole Foods, all of which is under construction. Here’s my Whole Foods construction photo gallery from January. Lots of progress has been made since.

Guitar Center is a popular instruments and accessories store. A friend calls is a “ToysRUs for musicians.”

Guitar Center is home to the world’s largest selection of popular guitars, basses, amplifiers, keyboards, workstations, drums, percussion, microphones, PA systems, DJ equipment, stage lightingrecording software, studio gear and more. Backed by over 250 stores across the country, offers the fastest, easiest way to find all the gear you need in one place. And, while many popular instruments are available for same-day pickup at a store near you, we also offer free shipping on thousands of items to the Guitar Center location of your choice.

TrySports takes the sports store concept a step further:

Our mission is to inspire our members to stay fit and healthy and enjoy the aerobic activities of walking, running, swimming, cycling, fitness, yoga and triathlon. No matter what your current fitness goals are, we will help you achieve them, and assist you as you develop new ones once you’ve succeeded.

And DSW aka Designer Shoe Warehouse is what the name describes – shoes, shoes and more shoes.

At the core of DSW Inc. is DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, the destination for fabulous brands at a great value every single day. With thousands of shoes for women and men in over 350 stores nationwide, DSW is all about the thrill of finding the perfect shoe at the perfect price. A huge assortment of handbags and accessories also adds to the breathtaking assortment DSW is known for. For an even bigger selection, Shoe Lovers can shop anytime at (where kids’ shoes are ready and waiting!), making it crazy-convenient to explore all the fashion that DSW has to offer. To top it all off, DSW Rewards means shopping comes with perks—members earn points toward $10 Rewards certificates every time they shop.


Dude December 17, 2014 - 10:15 am

How about an update on this? Looks like one for three on the reporting here. I believe the new shops in that center (aside from DSW) are a CityMac and a women’s clothing store, both of which qualify as local, as far as I know. I’ve been interested in this sports store that doesn’t look like it’s coming now. How bout the Guitar Center?

I’d love a recap of the 2014 Ashvegas rumors that did and didn’t come to fruition.

Jason Sandford December 17, 2014 - 2:06 pm

Thanks, Dude. I’ll see what I can track down. Guitar Center opened on Dec. 11. DSW is now open. TrySports fell through. That makes me two-for-three on the early word.

I posted this update in August:

Jason Sandford December 17, 2014 - 2:08 pm

As far as any rumors are concerned, I make it clear whether information is unconfirmed or just word on the street. Name a 2014 Ashvegas rumor and I’ll check on it.

Ken July 17, 2014 - 9:48 am

Any updates on the progress of Guitar Center on Tunnel Road?

Jason Sandford July 17, 2014 - 10:27 am

Ken, I need to check up on status of all that… Thanks for the reminder.

YES May 28, 2014 - 12:09 pm

Finally bringing some real stores to this area. I’m sick of everything “local” (over-priced). So many good chains that are in other cities are now starting to come here and that is awesome. Hopefully with the outlet mall being built it will draw even more great stores, not to mention jobs. Progress is great, now if we can get a large venue so big events will actually want to come here. Currently they cant make any money with the limited seating at the civic center.

maus April 21, 2014 - 9:05 pm

If music shops in Asheville want to compete with guitar center then they should stay open later and definitely be open on Sundays. Many musicians travel to this city to preform for us locals and find it hard to purchase essential gear like cables, strings, symbols, skins ect. It’s very frustrating when a band is on tour and they are in dire need for fresh gear, only to find out that all the (local shops) close at 5 or 6pm. I bet the majority of people whining about thus weren’t even born in this state. P.s . Most of tops shoes are made in Asia and are way over priced and greenlife is owned by whole foods for those who are fooled into believing that it is stiil locally owned. People need jobs folks and for a thriving tourist town the pay rate is almost criminal.

Steven August 21, 2014 - 6:38 am

The Guitar Trader on Haywood has been open 7 days a week for at least 2 years now. 12-5 on Sundays, 11-6 M-F

JML March 5, 2014 - 1:30 pm

We could REALLY use a big art supply store, like Utrecht or Pearl. the smaller local places dont cut it and the craft stores are waaaay overpriced, with all of these artists here, it’s a no brainer

weavervilleman March 4, 2014 - 3:48 pm

BTW, try sports is a carolina regional business, unlike academy sports and outdoors, this business is small and trys to support the local economy more than what dicks does

weavervilleman March 4, 2014 - 3:46 pm

This sure beats the empty storefronts that the kmart shopping center has had for YEARS, there are people who shop local, and who will shop at the chains. Many of us shop at both combined. At least its on tunnel road and not in downtown.

indie March 4, 2014 - 1:30 pm

Is every store than opens a 2nd location a chain in Asheville parlance?

Walli Ann March 4, 2014 - 1:06 pm

I don’t think TOPS will be affected. Folks who want the personalized service, and their kids fitted for shoes–like us, will still go there. DSW sells crap–not the substantial shoes (that of course you pay for)that TOPS has. Folks who want a shoe for an occasion, or for cheap may go to DSW. TOPS has their own clientele. There are many people who will still shop local–

Foothills Dweller March 4, 2014 - 11:18 pm

You’ve got that right. I went to a DSW once near Atlanta looking for some shoes for a wedding. Horribly cheap crap from China.

None March 5, 2014 - 6:07 pm

Next time you’re in TOPS, look where hose shoes are made. It’s very difficult to find shoes made in USA.

Big Al March 5, 2014 - 2:29 pm

I bought 2 pairs shoes from DSW once. They hurt my feet after the first month and I gave them to Goodwill.

TOPS salespeople showed me that my shoe size had actually grown before I spent good $ on a pair of dress shoes.

joanna March 4, 2014 - 12:41 pm

Isn’t it always? DSW is going to hurt TOPS and Guitar Center is going to hurt the music stores downtown and on Merrimon.

Jeremiah March 4, 2014 - 1:37 pm

DSW isn’t going to “hurt” TOPS any more than Pizza Hut “hurts” All Souls Pizza. TOPS has been an anchor downtown for years. People who shop at TOPS are a completely different group than those that shop at DSW. DSW will shift business from stores in mall or Shoe Carnival.

New chains moving into the area means the economic prospects of running a business in the MSA are getting fundamentally better. That’s a good thing for everyone.

Choosing to shop local, which I do, is exactly that – a choice. The best vendors will always persevere through new businesses encroaching on their clientele. Like, TOPS always has.

Ron March 4, 2014 - 12:17 pm

I attended a couple meetings with the developers a year ago. They stressed over and over how they were going to fill-out the spaces around Whole Foods with local, independent, stores using Whole Foods as the anchor to bring shoppers to the other retailers. Their example was choosing Neo Burrito instead of Chipotle. The rent was crazy $$ and I couldn’t see how any business other than a chain could afford to be there. Now we know. It was all talk.

Yeppers March 4, 2014 - 8:33 pm

It’s *always* all talk, from the developers AND the politicians, and then afterwards it’s always too late! Oh well, our *intentions* were all good! That’s all that seems to matter in AVL.

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