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