Biltmore Park a haven for local businesses?
Posted by eemilla on December 1, 2009
After spending a few days in the land of fried and breaded, I was a bit irked to read Jason Sanford’s “South Asheville Rising” touting Biltmore Park as a model for bringing local businesses to chain ridden South Asheville, especially since the accompanying photo was of a chain restaurant. While Biltmore Park’s new addition has brought in some arguably higher quality chains (e.g., 131 Main and Travinia), they are still chains (albeit more regional than national). We have not found a good reason to eat at any of these restaurants (aside from Brixx, thanks to its bogo special), and their menus (especially PF Chang’s) really aren’t offering anything to bring us in. I did appreciate that the article was bookended with paragraphs on local businesses (12 Bones, Tupelo Honey Cafe, and The Thirsty Monk), and Mr Sanford did include a few examples of local businesses that are moving into the square (with the omission of Sensibilities and Perks which have been there a few years).
On the bright side Biltmore Park does have sidewalks and an enviable greenway that connects the neighborhood to the local schools and their playing fields as well as the South Buncombe Library, and even though it is currently pretty devoid of trees, it is far and away superior to Tunnel Rd II (i.e., Airport Rd). Further improvements to draw people in (although I don’t always get the feeling that Biltmore Park wants locals hanging out in their town square) would be music, a beer festival, or at the very least bus service (which the Transit Master Plan does mention).
Admittedly I do shop at Ingles, Target, Pet Supplies Plus, and Earth Fare on a regular basis (with an occasional trip to Marshall’s, Best Buy, and Michael’s). I do not despise chains because they are chains, but rather because they are not as good for the local economy as local businesses, and they very often don’t treat their employees as individuals. I do despise the homogenization they inflict, and I cannot express how irritated I get every time I drive down Tunnel Rd II when I see the idiotic building orientation of Carrabas, Chilis, Cracker Barrel, and Lonestar. Rather than site the buildings with the seating facing the mountain view, customers dine with a lovely view of the parking lot. I understand that they didn’t want an ugly blank wall facing the street, but surely someone could’ve thought for a minute what a waste of the view their designs were. I also detest the market saturation and the horrendous architecture. Although their new location is only a few miles away, MalWart decided to completely abandon their hideous monstrosity on Hendersonville Rd for their new even more massive structure on Tunnel Rd II. Ingles provides an even more disgusting example of waste; their new Hendersonville Rd store (the one across from Earth Fare not the one across from Biltmore Forest or in Fletcher) was built yards away from the previous one.
Tonight we’re dining at Pomodoros for the first time a several years (the first time at their new location), and we’ll swill some fine beers from Monk South at Pint Night and Cask Night later this week. Keep those local businesses in mind when buying gifts!