Rumor control: Anthropologie planning to open store in downtown Asheville

Jason Sandford

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

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anthropologie_2013Here’s the hot rumor: Anthropologie, the popular women’s clothing and accessories store, is planning to open a new store in the S&W Cafeteria building on Patton Avenue in downtown Asheville.

Anthropologie, which also sells home furnishings and other gifty things, is owned by another popular retailer, Urban Outfitters. If Anthropologie does open a store in the S&W building, it would be a stone’s throw from Asheville’s Urban Outfitters at the corner of Haywood Street and College Street downtown. Anthropologie opened a new store in Greenville, S.C., earlier this year.

Urban Outfitters held the grand opening of its Asheville store in January 2010. The opening set off a heated discussion about whether downtown Asheville, known for its eclectic mix of independently owned shops, should embrace retail chains. The opening of Urban Outfitters in my mind is also tied to the birth of Asheville Grown Business Alliance, the very successful “buy local” movement here in town.

So, Asheville, what do you think?

Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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    1. sftransplant November 26, 2013

      Bring this cool store and jobs to our downtown. If anyone has ever been to an Anthro you know it’s perfect for that space and is hardly a GAP or a Walmart.

      Lighten up.

  1. Whistler November 6, 2013

    Before taking off nationally (and landing in shopping malls and other nondescript locations), Anthropologie routinely located in downtowns, remodeling old commercial or industrial buildings. Their shop in Wayne, PA is located in a beautiful Art Deco building: Given Anthro’s connection with Urban Outfitters, it’s not surprising that one would land in Asheville. Philosophical concerns about chains in Asheville aside, this particular chain might be a pretty good steward of the absolute gem that is the S&W building. The S&W facade and ground floor interior are badly in need of some TLC!

  2. biguglybrown November 5, 2013

    The listing agent told me that S & W is going to be the waffle House instead of the Windsor hotel.

  3. FDR November 5, 2013

    If you don’t like the employers moving to Asheville then you can move to Rosman, NC where you will be safe from chain stores and employment for centuries.

    1. Meg November 6, 2013

      You win this thread. 🙂

  4. David November 5, 2013

    Our tourism industry is the result of a vibrant downtown that doesn’t look like every other place in America. Each time we lose a space to a major chain downtown we come another step closer to becoming Anytime, USA.

    And the politics of this company are truly unfortunate…as one of the largest funders for anti-gay candidate Rick Santorum.

    Eventually we’re going to become the New Gatlinburg.

    1. Jason W November 5, 2013

      At least Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge has Go-Karts and Mini-Golf.

    2. luther blissett November 5, 2013

      “Each time we lose a space to a major chain downtown we come another step closer to becoming Anytime, USA.”

      Please share with us exactly how many times you were a customer of the previous tenants of the S&W.

      What distinguishes Asheville from Anytown, USA is the number of residents who are eager to support independent businesses downtown with everything except their money.

  5. Stacey November 5, 2013

    I used to love this store and Urban Outfitters until I found out the CEO was a big supporter of Rick Santorum. Now they will never get a penny from me.
    Not at all the free lovin’ hippy vibe that they portray.

  6. LeAnna Swing November 4, 2013

    I really hope this rumor is true. I love to travel and I go to the Anthropologie in every town I visit. The architecture of the S & W building works perfectly with the aesthetic of the store. It may be expensive and not local, but it is still beautiful and well made for the most part. The sale section is where I go, and I can always find something worth buying. This is a guilty pleasure for me, so I say go for it!

  7. Harry November 4, 2013

    Bring it! The more chains downtown the better.

  8. Nate November 4, 2013

    Seems like a less-than-ideal use for such a great, distinctive building, but once they turned the upper floors into luxury condos it was probably pretty unlikely that a new source of constant food smells was going to be installed down below.

  9. gegeb November 4, 2013

    I love this store. Yes many of the items are overpriced. They are everywhere I shop downtown for the most part. But I like to be able to pick and choose, especially from the sales room. Anthropologie stores have some of the best creative designers who repurpose recycle, and reuse as good as any I’ve seen. I love wandering through and appreciating the visual esthetic as much as shopping the sales rack. Surprised so many would rather see the building sit empty another year? Bring it!

  10. FDR November 4, 2013
    1. chris November 4, 2013

      And that, right there, would be enough for me to oppose it.

      1. FDR November 5, 2013

        If you read the article you can see that it all is not as bad as it seems.

    2. Harry November 5, 2013

      That right there is enough for me to START shopping there!

  11. Mike November 4, 2013

    How stupidly predictable this comment thread is shaping up to be.

    Bottom line it’s a valuable space that’s been wasted. I’m sorry to those who wish it was another independent coffee shop, music venue, or something so awesomely unique and local it would be, well, awesome!

    If you have another anti-corporate non-local comment to leave, save us all the trouble and just post the link to your comment on the:
    Trader Joes thread
    Local Taco Thread
    Harris Teter Thread
    Urban Outfitters Thread
    Whole Foods Thread

    1. JT November 4, 2013

      Exactly! Judging from the loudest commentators, most would rather see empty buildings and deserted concrete lots than a business that has already proven itself successful elsewhere.
      Not every business in town can be based on a unique idea that a cute local couple got a $150,000 loan to start up.

  12. PBnJ November 4, 2013

    Bring it. Look how long that building has been vacant versus not over the past decade. It needs something at this point, bad.

  13. Selene November 4, 2013

    What a dull idea for such an interesting building. 🙁

  14. Mike November 4, 2013

    With all the hate, we love this store and hope the rumor is true!

  15. sk November 4, 2013

    While I realize it’s been empty, this is such a waste of a great building and space.

  16. Sean November 4, 2013

    It’s like Whole Foods for home goods. Way too expensive…


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