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Turnover on Haywood Road leads to more businesses opening

Restaurants on Haywood come and go. But, quickly, leases are taken by entrepreneurs who want to try their hands at running businesses on the main commercial corridor. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Rob and Hannah Star are working hard inside their soon-to-open restaurant, Haywood Common, on Haywood Street, about one block west of the on-ramp for Interstate 26.

They’re excited and frenetic, working long days with crews inside the building to complete the seating and wall facades so they can welcome customers in 2018.

The couple came from California but now call Asheville home. With a deep background in restaurants, the Stars were ready to invest in their own place on Haywood.

“We live super close by,” said Hannah. “We've been looking at the neighborhood for a while, and know the community is blossoming, and really wanted to get in while the getting was good.”

Behind their restaurant is a new tap room called The Whale - A Tap Room Collective. Co-owner Jesse Van Note has been working with staff to put the finishing touches on the casual, wood-paneled space he’s clearly proud of.

Van Note, who hails from Kingston, New York, has a solid background in the beer industry and also fell in love with Asheville. He said, in the beer industry, a whale is a beer that’s sought after but hard to find. It’s exactly the kind his spot will stock for customers who seek a change from traditional restaurants and breweries that offer locally brewed beers.

“We embrace all the breweries and beers in Asheville,” said Van Note.

But this is clearly a business plan that provides something different from the traditional offerings.

“We had a packed house here all of Christmas night,” he said.

Restaurants on Haywood come and go, as evidenced by the recent announcement by the owners of Lucky Otter who have decided it’s time to close their doors for good. But, quickly, leases are taken by entrepreneurs who want to try their hands at running businesses on the main commercial corridor.

“We love Haywood Road. We’ve always been in this area,” said Christi Whiteley, who with her husband has opened Fleetwoods Rock and Roll Chapel Bar and Vintage Shop.

The store has an eclectic mix of leather biker seats and vintage clothing and boots. There’s a bar and chapel where Whiteley said the couple is performing real and mock weddings for anyone who wants to go for it.

“We charge $99. We wanted to keep it reasonable,” she said.

The space she now leases used to be Daggits Pawn Shop.

Barleycorn, a longtime West Asheville restaurant, closed about a year ago, and in it’s place is a bustling restaurant called Bim Beri Bon.

While there are still vacant buildings in the area, they’re increasingly few and far between.

Maria Weiss and her husband Loren Linck are building on Haywood Road on the other side of the I-26 bridge. The lot had a building collapse in 2015, and the lot sat empty for months.

Weiss said the building can house up to eight businesses and/or offices, depending on who ends up leasing space. In addition, she said, there will be on-site parking, which is a commodity in West Asheville.

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