Downtown Market closed; Sly Grog bar moving to new location in downtown Asheville

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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The Downtown Market collection of individual sellers of everything from vintage clothes to old books, vinyl records and other odds and ends, has closed for good. It was located in the building at 45 S. French Broad Ave. that is now home to Hopey & Co. grocery store, Little Bee Thai restaurant and the Hatch AVL business incubator.

The Sly Grog, a partner business with The Downtown Market, has also closed and is moving out. Word on the street is that the small bar is moving up the street into a warehouse building nearby.

Plans are for Hatch and Little Bee to expand into the former bar and market space.

Lance Hardcastle and Susie Watson, the owners of both businesses, posted this announcement earlier this summer about the market closure:

After an amazing five years, we will be closing The Downtown Market at the end of September. Sly Grog Lounge, our private club and music venue will be moving to a larger location that will allow us to expand our music capacity and continue being the fun local hangout it has become in the last year. Stay tuned for more info on that! For the remainder of the summer and into September we will be having amazing sales and super bargains, so come down and say so long for now to The DTM!
We had all hoped that with new neighbors and added traffic to the building, our sales would increase. Unfortunately our sales have actually declined since 2014. We have found for various reasons that The DTM is no longer sustainable. Even in the last months, with added businesses up and running in our building, it has not made a dramatic impact.
We applaud the new businesses in the building and are excited for them. We are very glad to see that the up-fit and many revitalizing changes that the Ball family have made to 45 South French Broad have brought new life and economy to our neighborhood and Asheville. They have done a great job.
We have been looking for some time now for a new home. The exploded commercial rent market has made this difficult. Finding a space that has the right traffic for our business, parking, affordable rates and a space that does not require a huge amount of up-fit has proven to be challenging. We had hoped to move the DTM with Sly Grog Lounge. This has proven to be a huge undertaking and we have found no place to adequately house both.
After a lot of soul searching, we feel that we need a break. It has been extremely hard to give up on this enterprise with all of our vendors. It has inspired us in many ways. But common sense and energetic reality have spoken to us. We feel that with all of our loyal customers and vendors we have created a community, a loving and supportive family, and a small but meaningful economic impact on our local community. We have co-created a place where most have felt welcomed, relaxed and found joyful creativity.
We have had a lot of fun! Every day we hear how magical and amazing our store is, like no other they have come across. We appreciate how everyone has contributed to this magical environment as well as bearing with us through our move and other struggles. We will never regret having gone on this journey with you all.
Our story is one that reflects our local, national and even global economy. Our type of market, like others around town, reflects the local scene and flavor of Asheville. It has provided a much needed economic injection for many people who, in order to survive in our economy, need multiple income streams to live here. For most, this is just one small part of multiple ways to create an income. At times, we have housed over 100 micro economies under our roof. It used to be that doing this type of selling was for either the veteran picker, antique dealer, festival vendor, fine crafter or the weekend hobbyist who enjoyed finding, making and selling. Now, many people find that it is one of the ways to generate income in a country with almost no safety nets for people and in a town with very few job options, let alone career opportunities.
We have been able to provide unique, beautiful and useful things to our diverse customers, most of whom we know as friends and neighbors! More than anything we have enjoyed getting to know you all. Your patronage, your stories and appreciation for us is part of what has kept us going!
Our story is also one of hope and the spirit of collective strength in the face of difficult times. The model of a multi-vendor market is not unique, yet the mix and diversity we have been able to provide has been very unique. We support the other markets like ours and wish them well. We hope we have inspired you all a little because you all inspired us! The spirit of individuals coming together in co-creating coolness and working together is what our world needs now!

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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1 Comment

  1. Nate October 10, 2016

    Honestly, I’m sort of amazed that they lasted through the renovation at all. A zone filled with a bunch of random vendor stalls clearly wasn’t the direction the new owners wanted to be taking the building and the break-up was pretty much inevitable from the moment it was sold.


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