After three decades, Corner Market folds
Say it ain't so! After thirty years, a Corner landmark has quietly vanished: the Corner Market at 1411 University Avenue. The phone has been disconnected, the contents have been emptied, and we've been unable to locate long-time owner Chaney Kent.
"Another chapter in the history of the UVA Corner comes to an end," says unofficial UVA historian Coy Barefoot.
Barefoot, who wrote a best-selling book on the history of The Corner, says that the store traces its roots to 1981 when Peter Johnson bought what had been a newsstand/giftshop from Paul Dunsmore (who also founded the iconic White Spot Diner) and rechristened it as the Corner Market.
Barefoot says that Kent, who started working there in 1986 as a UVA undergrad, bought the shop in 1995. One year ago, Kent was among the Charlottesvillians lamenting the death of Yeardley Love, a customer with a penchant for Diet Cokes.
"The Corner Market closing is likely a victim of CVS," says Barefoot. "But I guess we all saw that coming."
Indeed, it's not hard to imagine that the 2007 opening of the expansive, brightly-lit drug store in the adjacent Anderson Brothers building would impact the bottom line of the smaller, funky Market. At about the same time, developer Hunter Craig purchased the Market's home, the Chancellor Building, for $2.6 million, nearly twice the City assessment.
Back then, Craig told the Hook he liked the Corner "just the way it is" and while asserting no intention of leasing to a corporate chain, Craig said he'd like to see something like PJ's Pancake House near Princeton University so "students could stop for breakfast as they walked from their apartments to school."
Since 2007, real estate has fallen into distress, and while the City's assessment of the Chancellor Building climbed after Craig's purchase, the current assessment stands $600,000 below the purchase price.
So what will replace the Corner Market? Calls to Craig's office were not immediately returned. Stay tuned.
– a slightly altered version of this story was originally posted around 2:30pm on May 9