Acumen Brands Delivering New Life To Fayetteville's Old Post Office

by Chris Bahn  on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 12:00 am  

Still, there were challenges.

Profit margins are generally small in the restaurant industry. So competing with the Farmers Market three days a week, or 21 percent of potential business, as Rapert put it, made the margins even smaller — as subsequent tenant restaurants like Sodie’s and Urban Table would discover.

“Every restaurant in that location faced the same issue,” Rapert said. “Don’t get me wrong — my wife is one of the biggest fans in town of the Farmers Market — but we were trying hard to find a balance between wanting the market to have a great location but wanting the restaurant to have a fighting chance in order to keep a solid business on the square.

“We tried to work with the Farmers Market, asking them to scale back their hours so that we could still attract a lunch crowd, or to open up some parking spots, but we couldn’t get anything worked out.”

Huson said he never seriously considered a restaurant in the location. Succeeding there would take an established name restaurant, he said. Huson had one of those in Doe’s, which has operated on Dickson Street the last 15 years.

After deciding against moving Doe’s, Huson decided it didn’t make sense to bring in another restaurant that would essentially be competing for business with an already successful business less than a half-mile away.

“The only restaurant we really considered was our own,” Huson said. “We thought long and hard about moving Doe’s up there, but realized we’re a real good fit down on Dickson Street. We’re real comfortable with that setting. So we started looking outside other restaurants.”

That isn’t to say Huson didn’t receive interest in the building from restaurants. A national chain looking to re-establish a location in Fayetteville reached out to Tim Stein, an executive broker at Bassett Mix & Associates. Stein represented Huson in early attempts to find a tenant. Acumen management eventually approached Huson on its own about occupying the space, but Stein said interest was high among restaurants and law firms.

“Right from the beginning there was quite a bit of interest,” Stein said. “I think people are glad something new and different is going into the building.”

Even a former tenant like Rapert is glad to see the building back in use. Rapert said his oldest son, Jase, is among the faces featured on the mural that covers the inside walls of the Old Post Office. Jane Davidian’s painting of locals is a feature, along with marble throughout the building, that Huson stipulated in the lease remain untouched.

“I am excited to see the building come to life again,” Rapert said. “All these years later, it would be great to see people enjoying the building again.”

Huson, who can often be found near the counter of the Fayetteville Doe’s, said he has had great feedback from friends and others in town about the purchase. They seem, he said, as excited as he and his family are to give the Old Post Office another chance.

“There are only so many chances when something like this comes available,” Huson said. “I couldn’t understand why somebody else hadn’t already taken advantage of it. I think it’s an absolutely fabulous piece of property.”

 

 

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