Charlottesville can support a Cracker Barrel

I read the article about Cracker Barrel's decision not to come to Charlottesville [March 1: "Staved off: Cracker Barrel bypasses Fifth Street"]. I can't believe that a town this size, a hot spot for tourists, can't support a Cracker Barrel. I would think that Cracker Barrel would definitely appeal to a good mixture of generations in this area.

1. Not enough town? Wait a minute. The article noted that Staunton and Waynesboro have these restaurants. Is Cracker Barrel suggesting that Staunton and Waynesboro have a larger population than Charlottesville and that residents of Charlottesville and surrounding towns within Albemarle County, which have lots of national chains, wouldn't support this restaurant?

2. College Town concerns: I've only lived in Charlottesville for the past eight years. The cost of living in this town isn't cheap; however, UVA families continue to pour millions of dollars to help boost our town's economic growth.

3. Visibility and easy access: I personally don't know if the 5th street location next to the Holiday Inn was a great choice, even though the site is located at a highway ramp and next to two hotels. (I was at the Cracker Barrel location in Williamsburg last fall, but I had to use a GPS to find it, as it's nowhere close to the Interstate.)

4. Proximity to existing Cracker Barrel locations: Here again, I have to drive almost 30 miles to get to Cracker Barrel, yet the Waynesboro and Staunton are within five miles of each other. Has anyone asked the Waynesboro location how many times in a week have their employees had conversations with Charlottesville and Albemarle residents who have driven across the mountain to eat a good meal?

5.  It seems to me that there may be some other reasons why either Cracker Barrel isn't coming to Charlottesville– or the City/County officials are putting up a good fight against bringing this restaurant to this town.

Stewart Plemons

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