Letter to the Editor: Dear Friends of the Batesville Store


Read more about The Batesville Store closing here.

Dear Friends of The Batesville Store,

Since June 10, the day that state regulators forced us to suspend our operations, we have set one goal for ourselves—re-opening The Batesville Store. The pursuit of that goal has not been easy, and there have been numerous times when we’ve talked about giving up. But then we would recall the astonishing support that we have received from our friends and neighbors in the community, and it would inspire and motivate us all over again.

We received more than 750 emails of support. We heard personally from many of you. We received old-fashioned letters by way of snail mail. We read what you wrote on Facebook. We held onto the petition that more than five hundred of you signed the weekend after we closed.

How could we have turned our backs on all this?

We weren’t the only folks who heard from you. Local and state politicians were inundated with emails and phone calls. So too were county and state regulators. The public made their views known—and then some!

And you know what? It made a huge difference.

Shortly after our closing, Ann Mallek, the supervisor from the White Hall District, contacted us and offered her support. Ann has spoken of her commitment to working with rural communities to help them maintain and enhance their quality of life, and she means it. She has been awesome.

Within a matter of days, she arranged for us to meet with Ron Higgins from the County’s Zoning Department; Jeff McDaniel, the head of the local district of the Virginia Department of Health; and two of Jeff’s associates, Eric Meyers and Billy Craun. By the end of the meeting, we had come up with a plan, signed off on by Albemarle County and the Health Department, that would have enabled us to re-open The Batesville Store with only some minor modifications. Huge kudos to all these government officials for their willingness to work with us to craft a feasible plan. It was an excellent collaboration.

However . . . .

We lease the building in which we created The Batesville Store. Unfortunately, our landlord recently informed us that he will not allow us to make the changes that the county and the state require if we are to restore our operation. The landlord understands that this will likely mean that the building will only be permitted to house a convenience store which has limited seating and does little more than provide groceries for the immediate neighborhood.

We obviously do not agree that this is the best use for the building, nor do we believe that it takes into account its historical role, which was to serve as the hub of the community and the home to many different enterprises and activities.

But it is our landlord’s building, and ultimately he has the final say.

Thus, we come to you with the sad news that we are not going to be able to revive the small slice of heaven known as The Batesville Store.

But—call us crazy, and haven’t you done so many times before?!—we still haven’t given up on our dream of making the magic happen again.

Yes, dear denizens of our future store, we are now seeking another building in which we can replicate what we achieved in Batesville. We have searched all over the region and have come across some interesting spaces. Acquiring a new place is not going to be easy, nor is it going to happen overnight.

But we believe that we can make it happen, and if we do, you will have a new space to hang out in—a place where you can enjoy Liza’s great comfort food and baked goods, kick back to awesome local music, and participate in the life of the community.

So stay tuned! We promise that if we are able to turn our dream into a reality, you will be the first to know!

Cid and Liza Scallet