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Reality Check: Could Hendersonville soon have a rival for Asheville's South Slope?

There is new development in Hendersonville's 7th Avenue District, and businesses owners are cheering for each other to succeed. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

One of two areas of focus for the city of Hendersonville is starting to pay off. There is new development in the city's 7th Avenue District, and businesses owners are cheering for each other to succeed. The area once served as the city's original downtown, but 7th Avenue East went quiet for decades.

"There's been businesses budding up all over the place," said Jonathan Ayers, who recently opened a business.

Jonathan and Becky Ayers started the first construction in years in the district. The Triskelion Brewing owners changed careers so they could look forward to work. Now, their labor of love is beer.

"That's pretty much what's it been right now. It's a lot of hard work, a lot of long hours 12-, 14-, 18-hour days, seven days in a row, but we still wake up with a big smile on our face and go, 'We're brewing beer today!' It's a good feeling," Ayers said.

They also have a good feeling the area will continue to see positive growth.

"We do want to give a big thanks to all the businesses that were here," Ayers said.

Daddy D's has been there for years, and Underground Baking moved from Main Street to 7th Avenue seven years ago.

"Quite a few of our customers, when they found out we were moving, they were cautious about it, but enough of them followed us," said Matthew Hickman, the bakery's co-owner.

Seventh Avenue has been lucky number seven for Hickman. He expanded the brewery and also opened a coffee spot next door.

"Southern Appalachian Brewery, they're the first ones. They started all this, and they really laid the groundwork for this," Hickman said.

Seven years ago, Southern Appalachian became Henderson County's first brewery. Seven years ago, things were different.

"It's changed a lot. It's a lot more populated. I think there were two businesses there, not a lot of traffic, not a lot of foot traffic, as well," said Kelly Cubbin, co-owner of Southern Appalachian Brewery.

The city is working on plans to improve how the street looks and to make it more enjoyable for people to walk around.

"It is a continuation of what's been happening here for years, but it is very exciting, because it feels like there's a critical mass of new businesses that have been moving into the area," Hendersonville Downtown Development director Lew Holloway said.

Christine Carver opened Lux Salon on 7th Avenue about a year and a half ago. She said three stylists from Asheville recently asked about working for her. That's her proof the area is taking off.

"That doesn't ever happen. And I asked them if they moved to Hendersonville, and they said, 'no, but we keep seeing what's happening in this area and 7th Avenue.' And they just felt like this was the place to be. That was super encouraging to me," Carver said.

Some people once avoided the area.

"I got a gut feeling that this is probably the right place," Ayers said

The area is now developing a reputation that could make it comparable to Asheville's South Slope. There's a third brewery working to open along 7th Avenue in the next few months, with rumors of a fourth on the way.

"Were gonna call ourselves the East Slope. We are 7th Avenue East, and, technically, it is a slope that runs downhill that way," Ayers said.

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