The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a good story on the revival of the Draper Mercantile and Trading Company. The story will be one that is familiar to many on Main Street. The once thriving general store, the place where everyone once shopped, picked up the mail, chatted with neighbors and friends, doesn’t survive the coming of the mall, the collapse of the primary employment industry or the passing of the original owner. After lying dormant for years, a visionary sees the building’s potential and makes the substantial investment necessary to bring the building back to life by adding a new retailer (like The General Store and Inn in Altavista), a new restaurant (like The Union Station Restaurant and Bar in Harrisonburg ), an entertainment venue (like Lynchburg’s Historic Academy of Music Theatre) or a place to live (like Winchester’s Solenberger Hall).
Building on a community’s existing assets, no matter how shabby they may appear to be, is what Main Street is all about. Behind the chipped paint, broken windows and forgotten boxes could be a gem just waiting to once again shine.