Some guests are drawn to Brevard for the possibility to glimpse the white squirrels. The four-legged critters — a variant of the Japanese grey squirrel — are so widespread they even have their very own reward store: the White Squirrel Shoppe on West Essential Avenue.
However there are many nonrodent causes to go to the picturesque mountain city. Regardless of having simply over 7,700 residents in accordance with the 2020 U.S. census, Brevard is bursting with specialty shops and family-owned companies. Many are clustered across the downtown’s Essential Avenue, creating a comfortable sense of neighborhood.
Brevard was not at all times the vacationer vacation spot that it’s at this time, explains Dee Dee Perkins, proprietor of the outside provides and kit store D.D. Bullwinkel’s. About 17 years in the past, Transylvania County (of which Brevard is the county seat) sought to make clear the neighborhood’s model for tourism functions, she tells Xpress. Brevard hugs Pisgah Nationwide Forest and is a stone’s throw from DuPont State Leisure Forest. The county determined to lean onerous into outside journey, in addition to arts and tradition, Perkins says.
“Brevard has a uniqueness and a complete totally different vibe than existed 10 years in the past in a very cool manner,” explains Perkins, crediting new breweries and the Transylvania County Tourism Growth Authority’s give attention to mountain biking. “We had been by no means branded as or recognized as a mountain biking neighborhood,” Perkins continues. “Once we did that on the tourism facet, it received traction in an enormous manner.”
Thanks to those breweries and mountain bikers (and perhaps even these uncommon squirrels), Brevard now has a “cool issue,” Perkins says.
It’s a notion that many different enterprise house owners and entrepreneurs echo as properly.
From taxidermy to Peter Pan
Mirroring the city’s evolution, D.D. Bullwinkel’s didn’t start as an outfitters. Perkins opened the enterprise in 1994 as a present store on Broad Avenue. The store transitioned to promoting outside gear as the recognition of journey actions grew in the realm. In 2017, the enterprise renovated a Belk division retailer on Essential Avenue, which is its present location.
D.D. Bullwinkel’s sells all the favored manufacturers of out of doors attire, footwear and kit — Patagonia, Eager, Merrell, Osprey, Huge Agnes, Helinox — in addition to outside merchandise for youths. Way of life gadgets, reminiscent of quirky socks and jewellery by the waterproof model Bronwen, are additionally provided. Perkins’ daughter, Allie Carrington, who oversees a lot of the merchandising, says she makes some extent to focus on eco-conscious manufacturers. For instance, GOT BAGs are backpacks, weekenders and laptop computer sleeves which are comprised of plastics which were pulled from the ocean.
But when the outside are extra of an aesthetic than a leisure ardour, Brevard has a store for that, too. It’s house to the second location of MANtiques, an antiques store with a give attention to rustic furnishings and residential decor, reminiscent of taxidermied deer heads, antlers, outdated maps and knives.
“I’ve at all times been passionate in regards to the Adirondack look,” explains Carl Littlefield, who co-owns the shops together with his spouse, Cheryl. They opened the Brevard outpost of MANtiques practically 5 years in the past following the success of their Cashiers location.
Littlefield makes an annual journey to the Adirondacks for gadgets like snowshoes and fishing reels. Nevertheless, a whole lot of MANtiques’ merchandise now comes from individuals who carry Littlefield their very own antiques and area of interest collections.
“The longer we keep in enterprise, the much less time I’ve to search for stuff, as a result of stuff involves me,” he says.
A lot of the shop’s taxidermy comes from an area man who harvested the animals himself, Littlefield says. And most of the classic popular culture gadgets, like a metallic lunch field adorned with Disney’s Peter Pan characters, got here from a Brevard household of collectors.
As for the title MANtiques? Regardless of what he calls the “masculine really feel” of the store, “80% of my patrons are women,” Littlefield says. He suggests many ladies are the first house decorators and that his merchandise enhances the mountain houses and cabins widespread in Western North Carolina.
Brevard additionally has quite a few espresso shops, bakeries and chocolate shops. A heartier meal of soups and sandwiches may be discovered at Mayberry’s. Mayberry’s is open seven days every week for dine-in and takeout, and it’s additionally a specialty store promoting bottled sauces comprised of scratch, wine, beer and baked items.
Proprietor Kellee Reece grew up in Brevard and says she thought the city wanted “one thing with easy meals that’s not quick meals.” Though she and her ex-husband, with whom she began Mayberry’s, had been advised they had been “loopy for opening up a restaurant throughout a recession” over a decade in the past, the place was a direct hit. “I knew the idea would work,” she says.
As a toddler, Reece laughs that Brevard was so small “you couldn’t get away with something — it was terrible.” Right this moment she echoes Perkins that it has been “reborn as a vacationer city.” She named her restaurant Mayberry’s, a reference to the fictional city on “The Andy Griffith Present,” in a gesture to seize that small-town really feel.
Whereas Reece is joyful to share that her chocolate pie recipe was handed down from a neighbor’s great-grandmother, others in city, together with Diane Motter, hold their sources near the vest. Motter, who owns Spice It to a Tea! will solely say she buys her free teas, most of that are licensed natural, from small, family-run companies in Asia.
“I’m choosy about what I carry in my store as a result of I exploit all of it myself,” says Motter, a retired inside designer who opened her retailer due to her love of cooking. Along with free teas, Spice It to a Tea! sells salts, peppers, sugars, rubs and balsamic vinegars.
Spice It to a Tea! provides about 100 totally different sorts of free teas, says Motter. She explains that free tea stays brisker longer as a result of it’s not packed tightly in a tea bag or a ball. (However for individuals who do need tea balls, she sells these, too.)
Welcome, wished, invited
The mountains and their slower tempo of life carry out the creativity in many individuals, and that’s actually been true for printmaker Kristen Crucial. She taught printmaking at Blue Ridge Group School and Brevard School, and opened Starfangled Press in Brevard in 2016. The store serves as her studio for Starfangled Press-printed gadgets, the place woodcuts, letterpress and screen-printing are all achieved on website.
Additionally accessible are stickers, greeting playing cards and wall prints of Crucial’s designs, which she describes as “nature and animals and Appalachia.” A few of the hottest gadgets are T-shirts from her Cosmic Critters collection — drawings of Appalachian animals like raccoons, bears, foxes and squirrels which are surrounded by a swirl of stars. “Our cosmic raccoon crop high is the highest vendor,” she says.
Along with a number of artwork provides, the store area at Starfangled Press additionally sells work by native artists, like Eliana E. Rodriguez, Ratbee Press and Macon York Press.
Throughout the road from Starfangled Press is toy store/reward store Paper + Wooden. Proprietor Penny Wootten has a background in little one growth and labored each as a instructor and in guardian schooling. That have piqued her curiosity in toys to stimulate youngsters’s creativity — what she calls “open-ended toys” — like picket blocks, puzzles, animals, meals and dollhouses. (Many of those toys are Montessori- or Waldorf-inspired, she says.) Paper + Wooden additionally sells reward wrap and clean playing cards — once more, to encourage creativity — and a number of youngsters’s image books.
Wootten additionally wished to offer a neighborhood gathering area, so Paper + Wooden has a room cordoned-off with a curtain with a big desk and at the least 10 chairs. It may be used for child showers or conferences, however Wootten is most enthusiastic about its artwork courses.
Since opening the store in 2021, she’s held a watercolor class, a découpage class and a category to make an Introduction calendar. Asheville artist and illustrator Laura Lago, who works half time at Paper + Wooden, additionally taught a two-part class on bookmaking.
Wootten says the thought for her store and gathering area got here to her in a dream; now she’s seen that dream realized. She proudly held on the wall an indication studying “You might be welcome, wished, invited” — a sentiment which may as properly communicate not for simply Paper + Wooden, however for all of Brevard.