The Transylvania Times -

'New' Retail Stores Coming

 

June 12, 2017

The Perkins family stands in front of the future home of DD Bullwinkels.

It's not easy to renovate a 77-year-old building, but according to local retail business owners' Dee Dee and Jimmy Perkins, the effort has been well worth it.

The couple, along with their adult children, Adam and Allie, has been renovating the former Belk's building on 60 E. Main St. in Brevard since they purchased it in the summer of 2016. Upon completion, the family plans to relocate two of its retail stores, D.D. Bullwinkel's and Moosetracks Footwear, to the larger space.

"We hope to be moved and open by early July," said Dee Dee Perkins. "It's taken a lot longer than we originally thought, but we're truly excited for the public to see the transformation of this historic building into our new home for D.D. Bullwinkel's Outdoors and Moosetracks."

Currently, the two local retail stores occupy roughly 3,600 square feet in two separate storefronts. With 8,000 square feet of retail space in the Belk's building, D.D. Bullwinkel's and Moosetracks will have significant room to grow.

"We're going to fill the space with all of the major outdoor brands our customers have come to love," Perkins said. "But we'll be offering a lot more selection and introducing lots of new products for Hiking, camping, backpacking and climbing. Our aim is to be a full-service outdoor outfitter. We will also be adding additional brands of comfort footwear and expanding our shoe store offering."

Rocky's Grill & Soda Shop, the Perkins' third downtown retail business, will remain in its current location.

"When we move D.D. Bullwinkel's from its current location, we'll be able to give Rocky's a little breathing room," Perkins said. "We'll be able to enlarge our dining space by moving the candy and T-shirt centers to the former Bullwinkel's space."

The Perkins plan to re-brand this area of Rocky's as a "corner market," offering jellies, jams and local food items, candy, regional gifts and crafts, plus Brevard-branded T-shirts and souvenirs.

"In a sense, Rocky's will expand as a 'general store' to fill the former role of D.D. Bullwinkel's," Perkins said.

In the meantime, all of the Perkins' attention is on getting the Belk's building ready for its new tenants.

"Other than the walls and floors, this is practically a brand new building," said Jimmy Perkins.

The list of updates, improvements and changes is long. Current building codes required the installation of an elevator, asbestos mitigation and a new sprinkler system. Other notable projects included the installation of a new roof, new stucco façade, electrical system, and heating and air conditioning systems.

"There's been a lot of 'doing' in this renovation," said Jimmy, "but there's also been a lot of 'undoing.'"

Perkins referenced the restoration of the six windows that were blocked up and bricked over in a 1970 update, along with opening up the building's front mezzanine, which had also been sealed up at the same time.

"We wanted to preserve the old elements, like the hardwood floors and the staircase," she said, "but we wanted to restore some of those significant architectural details that had been lost in the 1970 update. This was a grand retail space when it opened in 1940, and we're so happy that it's going to be that again."

The couple credited a loan from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program for helping to achieve their goal. The loan is a collaborative solution between CDBG and the Downtown Redevelopment Fund of the North Carolina Main Street program.

The Redevelopment Fund supports efforts to correct code deficiencies in underutilized downtown commercial buildings.

The CDBG program is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program administered in part by the N.C. Department of Commerce. CDBG's economic development funds provide grants to local governments in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties for creating and retaining jobs.

"We are ever grateful that we learned about that grant/loan," said Perkins. "We never could have renovated the building without it. It truly allowed the project to happen."

"We are also proud that the majority of the renovation work has been done by local businesses," added Jimmy.

Those local businesses have included the project contractors, Ed Burdette Construction; in addition to Brevard Electric, Chester Stucco, Joe Chapman Roofing, Anderson Heating and Air, C & S Plumbing, Architect Chris German and interior specialist Charlton Bradsher.

"The renovation of a 77-year-old building is always going to uncover surprises, and we are grateful to a committed team to come up with solutions," said Jimmy.

The couple also praised the working relationship they've had with the city and the county.

"In a project of this scope and complexity, you end up working with a variety of city and county offices," said Jimmy. "At every stage, we've appreciated their guidance, responsiveness and professionalism."

In addition to a larger, renovated space, D.D. Bullwinkels and Moosetracks will be sporting something else: a new brand identity.

"As we contemplated the move, we thought it was the ideal time to revisit our brand for both businesses and give ourselves a fresh look," Perkins said.

Previously, the two businesses had their own independent brand identities and logos.

"Because we are now bringing both businesses together under one roof, we wanted to create brand identities that can live independently of one another but that are also coordinated and unified," said Perkins.

The resulting brands, developed by Asheville advertising agency, Market Connections, are already being put to use in a teaser campaign for the upcoming relocation.

"We're really proud of our new look," said Perkins. "The designs are fresh, contemporary and timeless."

The judges of the 2017 Asheville ADDY awards agreed. The new logo designs recently won a Silver Award.

"We've incorporated the new look throughout the store and wanted to feature the moose logo on the back wall," Perkins said. "We asked the Brevard High School Welding Club for some help to create a metal, lighted-sign of our new logo. The Welding Club and the advanced digital media class collaborated on the project, and the outcome completely 'wowed' us. The 4-foot diameter steel moose head sign has LED lights, and it creates an awesome focal point in the store."

After final inspections are completed, the exact opening date will be released.

 
 

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