WEST JEFFERSON — The Bryer Patch at 15 E. Second Street aims to not only expand downtown West Jefferson’s growing slate of businesses, but also inspire and engage local youth, according to store owner Donna Weaver during her business’ Ashe County Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting ceremony Wednesday, July 10.
Featuring vignette furniture and interior décor for sale, a Brer Rabbit-themed reading den for kids and space to display the works of young local artisans, The Bryer Patch has drastically transformed what was formerly a Dollar Tire & Auto Services building with a grimy grease pit for its centerpiece, Weaver said.
“The dream, once I found this building with the pit, was to turn the pit into a children’s bookstore — something that would spark their imagination and creativity,” Weaver said. “Our children need all the help they can get here for the support to read.”
Once Ashe County Schools are back in session for the fall, The Bryer Patch hopes to sponsor three young artisans — one each from elementary, middle and high school — who are interested in displaying and perhaps selling their works, Weaver told the 15 people present at her Ashe County Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting ceremony.
“I want to support that effort in the county,” Weaver said. “I think that’s a good way to support young economic development.”
As a current member of the Ashe County Partnership for Children board and following a 38-year career with Ashe County DSS, Weaver said she wants to help the youth as much as possible while also delving into new territory for her as an entrepreneur.
“Now I’m in a whole new venue which is very different, and I have a lot to learn,” Weaver said. “I kept my prices down, hopefully so that I could attract the local people.”
Also selling goods out of The Bryer Patch is Weaver’s business partner, Cherie Granger.
According to Ashe County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kitty Honeycutt, the freshly renovated building is a sight to behold, especially considering its history servicing automobiles.
“The transformation of this space is absolutely unbelievable,” Honeycutt said. “It’s a feast for the eyes.”
Ashe County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair William Sands, North Carolina Economic Development Association President Pat Mitchell and The Hotel Tavern Owner Andy Guyon were also complimentary of the building’s renovations, and West Jefferson Mayor Dale Baldwin welcomed Weaver to town.
“We’re glad you picked West Jefferson,” Baldwin said.
The Bryer Patch is the fourth business to open along the downtown stretch of East Second Street since July 2018, according to Ashe Post & Times’ count.
“I love this particular location,” Weaver said. “This whole street has transformed in one year’s time, it’s amazing.”