An independent piano store is closing its doors at Park Road Shopping Center, but the owner of Piedmont Music Center said he hopes to reopen soon in a new location.
Owner Chris Fulk said the store's lease ran out on Oct. 31 and he couldn't come to terms with the shopping center's owners for a new lease. The store, which also has a Winston-Salem location, has been at Park Road Shopping Center for more than 11 years.
"We've not been able to negotiate anything that makes sense for us to stay at Park Road," he said. Like some other local businesses, Fulk said he doesn't think owners EDENS want as many independent businesses - the quirky mix Park Road Shopping Center is known for.
My colleague Eric Frazier wrote a story on this topic in September.
“I don’t know what they plan to put out here,” a small business owner said. "But my guess is it’s going to be a lot of chain stores.”
Other merchants share that belief. They’ve been dreading the possibility of change since 2011, when Porter Byrum donated the shopping center to Wake Forest University, Queens University of Charlotte and Wingate University. He was 91 at the time. The schools quickly sold it to EDENS (then Edens & Avant) for $82 million.
"When Mr. Byrum owned the shopping center, it was the best situation any tenant could have asked for," Fulk said Monday. "He's a wonderful gentleman. I lament the fact that he's no longer the owner." Fulk did say he appreciated that Byrum gave millions of dollars to schools as a result of the Park Road Shopping Center sale.
"I think they didn't really want us to stay," Fulk said of EDENS. Park Road Shopping Center was the city's first open-air shopping center when it opened in 1956.
He said he plans to liquidate all of the inventory at the Charlotte store over the coming weeks. He said he's still looking at several other locations to reopen in, and doesn't have another lease yet.
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