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Chain store ‘invasion’ downtown spurs fight
Monday, 10 August 2015 00:30
By JOHN NORTH
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An online petition launched on July 20 calls for the city of Asheville to regulate — and place a cap on — the number of national chain and formula stores in downtown.

The keep-downtown-local petition was triggered by the recent announcement that an Anthropologie store soon will be locating at 37 N. Lexington Ave., between a local clothing boutique and Lexington Avenue Brewery.

Anthropologie is a national chain retailer offering women’s high-end apparel. Anthropologie will be downtown’s second chain store. National retailer Urban Outfitters has operated at 15 Haywood St. since 2009.

Within two days of posting the petition on Change.org, it had garnered 500 signatures. Four days in, it reached 1,000. By July 24, the volume of signatures neared 2,000.

As of 3 p.m. July 28, as the Daily Planet was going to press, the petition totaled 2,478 signatures, Rebecca Hecht, who drafted it, told the newspaper. At the current growth rate, she added, “I’d guess we’d have 2,500 by tomorrow (July 29). We plan to turn it in to the city after one full month... around Aug. 20.

“I started the petition by myself. I was encouraged by my landlord (Bob and Ellen Carr and son Alex), who owns Tops for Shoes.

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New downtown cinema aims to mix popular, obscure films
Monday, 10 August 2015 00:27

From Staff Reports

Grail Moviehouse will open in downtown Asheville in early 2016 with two new movie screens, but not necessarily showing new films.

The 250-seat, 4,500-square-foot cinema will open at 45 South French Broad Avenue, which also houses the Downtown Market and Hopey & Co.

It will screen a mix of new independent films, classics, documentaries, foreign movies and local projects.

The two screens will enable Grail to balance whatever’s popular with more obscure films, according to Steve White, who is co-owner along with partner Davida Horowitz.

The only downtown cinema currently is the Fine Arts Theatre, which also has two screens.

The Grail will distinguish itself from its competitor by screenings numerous documentaries and foreign films and creating a space where local filmmakers and animators can screen their works.

He also said the Grail will be an affordable place to view films to fill the void left by Cinebarre’s closing last year in West Asheville. 

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