What started as one clothing store in an Airstream trailer, and then grew into a small group of businesses-on-wheels, might have become something much bigger for Fayetteville.
The Yacht Club, if current trends continue, seems to be turning into a local business incubator that could rejuvenate much more than just the formerly abandoned parking lot at the corner of College Avenue and Trenton Street.
Two Fayetteville businesses that got their start at the park are expanding out of their trailers and into brick-and-mortar buildings along College Avenue.
Hawaiian Brian’s, the restaurant that opened earlier this year is already in business at its new home at 1466 N. College Ave. in the Evelyn Hills Shopping Center (formerly home to Something Better Foods).
Grey Dog, the vintage boutique that started the Airstream business trend in town, plans to move into a building at 824 N. College Ave. next week.
Understandably, owners of both businesses are excited about the extra space their new storefront locations will allow.
“We’ve already outgrown the trailer,” said Shanea Holmbeck, who owns Hawaiian Brian’s with her husband Michael. “We hoped we’d eventually be able to move out of the Airstream, but we didn’t know it was going to happen so fast. We’d only been there four-and-a-half months.”
Holmbeck said they’ll serve all the signature Hawaiian dishes their customers have come to know, plus some new possibilities.
“We’ll definitely be adding some things to (the menu),” she said. “We’ll also try to get beer and wine in the near future.”
Molly Clark, owner of Grey Dog Vintage Boutique, also said a need for extra space played into her decision to purchase a building, and move out of her Airstream trailer.
“We’ll be able to add more men’s vintage, and a lot more women’s items that I’ve had in storage,” Clark said. “I’m excited to have my second bedroom back.”
Clark, who basically pioneered the business-on-wheels movement in Fayetteville when she opened Grey Dog in 2010, won’t be leaving her trailer – affectionately named “Lucy Pearl” -behind.
“Oh, she’s coming with us,” she said. “We’re going to rent it out for the first year to help some other small businesses get started, and then we have other plans for it after that.”
Clark said Grey Dog’s new location will feature a large outdoor deck that could also be rented out for event space, trunk shows, art shows and bridal events.
The fact that both businesses have incubated in the Yacht Club, and will move on to occupy formerly vacant property along College Avenue, could be a very good thing for Fayetteville.
The low overhead and unique environment the Yacht Club provides allows businesses to test their concepts and build a following, which is something that could be difficult to manage in a recovering economy.
“I know it’s been great for us,” Holmbeck said. “We were able to get in there, test our menu, and find out whether this could really work here.”
Hawaiian Brian’s officially opened in their new space over the weekend, and Grey Dog hopes to be open in their new space by early December.