The Berryville Main Street board has decided to close the Fire House Gallery retail shop so the organization-legally known as Downtown Berryville Inc. – can focus all its attention on promoting and supporting downtown businesses and the Town. The gallery, located at 23 E. Main St., will close on September 30.
The Fire House Gallery opened on January 9, 2010, as an economic development project featuring distinctive handmade arts and crafts from local and regional artist to enrich the local culture.
It was able to provide incubator spaces that were rented to start-up business owners who needed space to launch their businesses.
The Town of Berryville owns the historic, two-story former fire station building and has rented it to Downtown Berryville Inc. Town Manager Keith Dalton said Downtown Berryville has expressed interest in utilizing the second-floor space for its Berryville Main Street office. The Town will find a new tenant for the former gallery space.
Berryville Main Street president Nathan Stalvey said by closing the gallery, board members and Berryville Main Street volunteers can put all its energy and resources into projects and events, with the continued support of the Town of Berryville.
Events include the hugely popular Berryville Main Street Summer’s End Cruise-In in late August, the Berryville Main Street Yard Sale on the second Saturday in April and September, and Berryville Main Street Music in the Park on Friday nights throughout the summer. Berryville Main Street also organizes
a decorated parking meter contest during the winter holiday season and a Christmas tree lighting event. It supports the annual Christmas parade along Main Street.
Residents formed Downtown Berryville, Inc., a 501© (3) non-profit organization to promote the town much like a Chamber of Commerce might. The following year, the Berryville Historic District was listed in the National Register, and the town became a designated Virginia Main Street community in
1992. That’s when Downtown Berryville, Inc. adopted the Berryville Main Street moniker.
“The Berryville Main Street board appreciates all the volunteers and staff who worked in the gallery over the years,”Stalvey said. “We are also grateful for the many local artists and craftspeople who kept the gallery filled with their extraordinary work.”
The Town of Berryville is one of more than 2,400 American communities in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Program, and it is one of only 29 Virginia towns with the designation. Nearby, Harrisonburg and Luray also have Main Street designations.
The Virginia Main Street program, managed by the Virginia Department of housing and Community Development, aids in providing assistance and training to communities so they can increase the economic vitality in downtown commercial districts by focusing on their unique heritage and attributes.
Stalvey and the board want to assure the community, “Downtown Berryville Inc. is not going out of business. By closing the gallery, we won’t have to worry about running a business while trying to promote other businesses.”