A major gathering place in southern Albemarle County will begin a new chapter Saturday when the Batesville Market opens for business.
“It’s all about putting Humpty Dumpty back together again, and it seems to be working out,” said Alex Struminger, one of two brothers who recently purchased a landmark that has been home to several country stores over the decades.
The store first closed in June 2011 after the Virginia Department of Health claimed the establishment had too many seats to call itself a country store, and needed to be regulated as a restaurant.
Business owners Cid and Liza Scallet opted to go out of business because they claimed the owner would not allow the necessary changes to be made.
Another couple took over the space to open the Plank Road Exchange in April 2012, but they closed their doors in July 2013.
Both couples were tenants of Norman Jenkins, who sold the building to the Struminger’s brother David in September. The pair hope to run the Batesville Market as a “community enterprise.”
“It’s going to be a lot like it was before when it was Charlie Page’s store, when it was the Batesville Store, and when it was the Plank Road Exchange,” Struminger said. “Most of the time the store has had a certain kind of flavor which has been a general country store with good food and music.”
Struminger said the idea this time around is to build a business that can sustain itself and the Batesville area, where David lives.
“Both of us have day jobs so we’re not relying on the store to make a living,” Struminger said.
Struminger said the name change to Batesville Market partially because he and his brother could not secure the website for batesvillestore.com.
The market will offer groceries sourced from nearby food providers.
“For us, local is anything that south of Interstate 64 wherever possible,” Struminger said.
Tomorrow’s grand opening begins at 5:30 p.m. and coincides with Batesville’s Apple Butter days, a fall tradition that dates back to 1975.
The Batesville Ruritans will spend all Friday and Saturday across the street from the market peeling and chopping apples from Crown Orchard to make the apple butter, an Albemarle County staple. The market will provide soup and coffee to volunteers until midnight.
“This store, along with the Ruritans, has been the central hub of the community for many years,” said Batesville resident Lonnie Murray. “Not having it here has really harmed our ability to be the kind of close community we were and to share important information with each other.”
Struminger said he thinks Batesville residents have missed the place.
“People have been stopping by the store every day since we’ve been working to get things ready,” Struminger said. “They really look forward to seeing their friends on Saturdays.”
The Batesville Market will be open Wednesday through Sunday. For the grand opening. the Pollocks will play music from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.