Batesville Store to re-open?

Two weeks ago, a story in the Crozet Gazette enthusiastically suggested that the Batesville Store, a popular music venue and country store that was forced to close when the Health Department cited the owners for more or less running a restaurant without a permit, might re-open. However, when we spoke to store owner Cid Scallet on July 13, he was cautious about such pronouncements.

"Apparently there's a rumor floating around that has taken on a life of its own," he says. "Yes, there's a possibility we might re-open, but the key word is 'maybe.'"

Since 2007, Scallet and his wife had been running the store under guidelines from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Safety [VDACS], which monitors all grocery and convenience stores. But according to local health department officials, when a case of foodborne illness was reported, agents investigated and discovered that the store was operating as a restaurant with as many as 40 seats, something Scallet does not refute. On June 10, health department agents ordered them to stop their restaurant operation. By June 12, the Scallets had announced a half-price closing sale.

"There was absolutely no warning," Scallet told the Hook, and he added that the "horrific" timing cost them $10,000 to $12,000 in lost revenue.

Store fans were outraged. A month later, Scallet says they still are.

"I now have about 600 emails of support and encouragement in my inbox," he says, "and they are still coming in."

Scallet says that both state and county officials have reached out to him and his wife, Liza, hoping to help them find a way to re-open the store.

"We have been working with them, and the collaboration has been very productive," says Scallet. "Ann Mallek [County supervisor] has been awesome from the day we were closed and has taken the lead in bringing people together on the project."

Scallet also says that County zoning and health department officials have been helping them to find a way to re-open. But it's complicated.

"If we are to re-open," says Scallet, "we need to figure out what makes sense for the community, how it fits into the relevant regulatory frameworks, and if it's economically viable for us."

As Scallet points out, bringing the kitchen and the building up to code could require extensive renovation, something that the old building's status as a historic structure makes even more complicated.

But don't lose hope, Batesville Store fans. What a difference a week makes. When we spoke to Scallet on July 19, he was considerably more optimistic.

"Things are moving more slowly than we hoped but just about as fast as we expected," he says. "We still have a couple of bridges to cross before we can hope to re-open. But we plan to re-open. For sure."

Read more on: batesville store


You are still indicating that they were forced to close and that is simply not the truth. They were told to bring the store into compliance and decided to close. This may very well be a beloved location in Batesville, but the operators knew what they were doing and simply chose to ignore the rules because it was not cost effective to comply. Much of the local support has been generated by the false impression that the owners were screwed by the Health Department.

It's pretty easy to throw stones and say "chose to ignore the rules" but honestly, the rules can be pretty obscure and are generally enforced pretty haphazardly. The same health codes theoretically apply to the entire state, but I can guarantee they are not enforced the same. As a restaurant owner 25 years ago, I can vouch that enforcement then bears no resemblance to enforcement today. I can also vouch that enforcement in our community is very strict compared to other areas of the state. One can argue whether that is good or bad, but I think the variation of enforcement based on the type of venue and it's physical location is a good thing. A good inspector should be able to tell how well the operator understands the critical issues and how much effort they are taking to protect the public.

Bottom line is that the Batesville Store was successfully keeping a historical asset alive, creating a sense of community, and serving a clientele that felt they were getting a good product. Shutting all that down over a seat count or a square footage calculation is petty. Our small towns need to be able to thrive without having to bring in a new fast food chain outlet to meet a need. The inspectors need to use their discretion to protect the health of the public (that's why the codes are there) but not get so caught up in enforcing the arcane and the petty. Not every store/restaurant can fit neatly into a code-defined box. Give me a choice between eating at a 100 year old building with an owner operator who is there every day and a corporate owned chain outlet with absentee owners and minimum wage managers, and I'll take the buffet at Batesville any day.

So sad Dave, so sad.

They were told they could come into compliance and stay open, how foolish. If Ford was only allowed to sell 100 cars a year but they had to keep overhead exactly the same, what choice would they have to make? Being told you "can" remain open but you will lose over a thousand dollars a week might be a good deal for you but not everyone can afford your world.

Did they ever get a poor inspection? Never, just a couple of minor issues that pale when you read about what some of the upscale Charlottesville restaurants have gotten written up with in the past. Did the inspector know full well the situation? Yes, and never wrote them up and was even appreciative they were saving a part of history.

The Store has an open kitchen, everyone can see what goes on, unlike most restaurants. At least you can see in and make up your own mind. So this place was breaking the rules for years, the inspector was aware from day one and no effort was ever made to hide anything, even leaving tables and chairs in front always, but now this all gets "exposed" and everyone in the government goes we stepped in to save the public the moment we identified the extra chairs.

Those here I once called my friends are now the local lunatics. The same faces across the room at the store when Tom Perriello met with us there during his campaign, now have become robots and wonder how these scofflaws were able to hide this from the government for so many years?

Sounds like we should be firing some inspectors. My neighbors are spineless. And they have turned on the store with avengence.

So many of my neighbors now spew the "Cid and Liza are horrible, ignoring the rules, why would people support that place?" mimicking party line, yet I saw these same people were in the store week after week, drinking, enjoying, conversing. Yet at the Crossroads Store one of them denied ever supporting the place to my face just the other day. I would have called him out as the liar he is, if his children were not there because I was at a party with him two months before when his accolades flowed to every out of towner about what a wonderful place we had in our town, with great food and music and on and on..

What a two-faced backwards area this has become over the last 40 years.

One again, we hear the complaints of people who want to cry victim for those knowingly choosing to operate outside the code. I would agree that no two inspectors are the same, but I can promise you their seating limitations were clearly spelled out, as well as occupancy, and just what defines a restaurant. How is it that places like HotCakes stay in business year after year with the same Health System, and the same food laws, and the same ABC, but this little country store is just a helpless entity being picked on? How about the tiny place Brix inhabited for so many years and made money on 53?


The Scallets have a permit to run a Country Store in a historic district with an old septic field, and no parking, where everything is grandfathered. That's what they need to run. If they can't make money doing that, then maybe someone else can. Maybe Letare can take it over and reinvent Brix.

A Brix in the historic Batesville Store? That's about as wonderful as Urban Outfitters gutting out the old hardware store.

Elmo - one can certainly find fault with the way various agencies do or don't do their jobs. My point was that the agencies didn't, in this case, close the store - the operators did. I have owned a local semi-historic building and had limited cash flow to properly meet code - EVERY local agency was willing to work with me to find solutions. To infer that they are putting people out of work and destroying a beloved local meeting place is simply not true.

It's a shame this happened. An anecdotal report of a "food born illness" means nothing. Every time someone gets a digestive upset they'll tell you it's a bug unless they ate at a restaurant in which case they'll claim food poisoning. These people were providing a service that made a dinky crossroads like Batesville a more vibrant community and making do with country facilities as the only way they could do it and make a living. If all they can do is sell cigarettes and beer they have to close and nobody else will be able to make a go of the venue. It'll end up sitting there deteriorating and empty like so many other old country stores and Batesville will be the worse for it. Sometimes the law really is an ass

Yes, sometimes the law really is "an ass," so if you don't like the rules, fight to change them. Don't sneak around them and then cry foul when they are enforced. I thought this was like Government 101 stuff. If I put a bagel sandwich drive-through in my front yard and everybody "likes it," would that be OK? I mean...who cares if I have a permit, right, 'cause my bagels are good and I'm providing a great service to my neighbors!

There are health standards for a reason. If you cannot comply then you may be putting the safety of the public at risk. And there may be other places out of compliance but that doesn't make it acceptable in this instance.

Yawn...this story is stale.

I just hope they come back and take those nasty chairs and tables out of the road!

Well gee, I see all these complaints about the big hand of government over-regulating every aspect of our life. It is okay for libs to tell us what kind of light bulbs we can use and what kind of car I am allowed to drive. But people get a bug up when government comes in an enforces an existing law the transgressor knew he was breaking. Mr. Scallet, since records show you donated $200 to Barry Obama's 2008 campaign, maybe you should come over to our side....we're for less government interference!

@Never Been to a Game - yeah, it is a bit tiring to hear the super wealthy, the tea party crowd, and the right-wing punditry complain about the big hand of government over-regulating every of our life isn't it?

But fear not, their allies in the house are fighting the good fight! For instance, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and his band of like-minded patriots just killed the Energy Department's standards for traditional incandescent light bulbs to be 30% more energy efficient!

Forget that those standards were included in a 2007 energy bill signed by President George W. Bush and that the Dept. of Energy said those standards could save consumers $6 billion a year.

The Government is going to have to pry my inefficient incandescent bulbs from my cold dead heads!

Nice to see Govt. officials leaning further to the right than Bush!

This gist of this article on the potential re-opening of the Batesville store is contained in this sentence:

"If we are to re-open," says [Cid] Scallet, "we need to figure out what makes sense for the community, how it fits into the relevant regulatory frameworks, and if it's economically viable for us."

Hopefully, community, regulatory framework and economic viability all mesh and the store re-opens. There's a "happy" ending.

Having said that, I wonder what the problem is with Never Been to a Game, who whines about "libs" and lightbulbs (Never Been prefers the old, energy-inefficient ones), and opines that Batesville store-owner Scallet should "come over" to Never Been's conservative side because conservatives are for "for less government interference!" Apparently, Never Been to a Game has also never been paying attention to what conservatives have done, and plan to do.

Never Been's party of "less interference" likes to tell women what to do with their bodies, and makes it harder for them to access legal abortions. His party of "less interference" lets the lobbyists of big business and banks write its bills. The party of "less interference" tries its very best to gut legislation that protects consumers from financial fraud and citizens from the usurpation of their constitutional rights. Those who believe in "less interference" interfered maliciously with voters' intent in the presidential election of 2000, and then they gave the nation an unnecessary war based on false "intelligence" that's approaching $ 2 trillion in costs, and refused to pay for it, thus interfering not only with budgetary balances and allocations, but also with the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, both here and abroad.

The who subscribe to the "less interference" mentality piled up huge budget deficits, quadrupling the national debt from 1981 to 1993. They pushed legislation that prohibited regulators from interfering with rampant fraud on Wall Street –– and then when the greed and fraud and corruption led to financial meltdown, the sought government "interference" in the form of huge taxpayer bailouts for their "less interference" bank and hedge-fund friends. The "less interference" crowd gave the nation another doubling-plus of the national debt between 2001 and 2009, and millions of job losses, and a broken economy. The "less interference" disciples keep interfering with government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" in favor of oligarchy.

Never Been to a Game has also never been accused of being thoughtful. Or honest. Or committed to promoting the general welfare of society.

perhaps this tells all about politicians:

"they are like diapers- they need changing every so often and usually for the same reason"

four years? these bizzness owners should have figured it out by now. there will always be some kind of rules and regs. its a game. you just have to learn to play or get out.

I'm sick of hearing EVERY source for EVERY fact in EVERY story about this coming straight from Cid's mouth. Of course maybe that's part of the problem in the first place. I don't know how many times I was in there and heard him going on and on about how they were sneaking around rules and regulations by putting price tags on their chairs, signs up about "don't drink booze past this sign" (so their customers would get busted instead of them!), on and on and on.

As far the "reviving a community" "heart and soul of a sleepy little crossroads" "beloved by all locals"......NOT facts. Those are called personal opinions.

Let me try to paint you a hypothetical scenario: You live in a residential neighborhood. It’s nice and quiet. There's one building that's zoned non-residential--the only one like it for miles around. For 125 years it was run as a general store. It sold groceries, sundries, and had a deli; it always closed at 6PM. It never caused a problem with its neighbors, be it parking, politics, or religion. New folks take it over. Suddenly, without any sort of public hearing or input, it’s a restaurant with live music that starts at 7—still zoned a country store of course. It’s still got a creaky old septic system, 15 parking spots, and a max. occupancy of 50—same as ever there. But now you can walk out of your door and count 100 cars on a busy night, where before there was zero. Who are they? Where did they all come from? Why are they here?

Oh. That’s right. Your new neighbor is booking acts that have played the Jefferson/Paramount/Pavilion. He’s advertising in local papers (as a restaurant/music venue of course). He’s bragging about how his email list is up to 2000 people (keep in mind the Fire Marshall says 51 in there are too many). And he’s certainly willing to tell anyone who will listen how he’s thumbing his nose at all these terribly restrictive regulations about what is and isn’t a country store.

Does this sound like someone who’s being a good neighbor? Not in my opinion.