It’s been almost a year since a fire claimed the life of beloved Fayetteville resident Bruce Walker, but it appears as though Walker’s iconic business and the city’s favorite leather shop will soon return to town.
It’ll be in a new spot this time, however.
Bruce’s brother Bob Walker moved to Fayetteville from his home in Chico, Calif. a few months ago, and plans to re-open Flying Possum Leather at 33 N. Block Ave., right at the corner of Meadow Street.
“I really felt the pull of Fayetteville,” Bob told us. “It’s just a great community, with great people, and it feels like the right place to be.”
Bruce opened Flying Possum Leather at 526 W. Dickson St. in 1976, where it became one of the longest running businesses on the street. Bob said he recognizes the significance of the original spot, but said that several factors led to his decision to relocate to Block Avenue.
“The parking situation is a lot better up there,” he said. “You’ve got the Farmers’ Market coming up, and lots of other retail. Plus, it’s right there on the corner, and once we get the sign up, it’s going to be really visible. We’re just thrilled to have it.”
Walker decided to reopen the shop himself after negotiations fell through with one of Bruce’s former apprentices who had hoped to buy the business from the Walker family.
For a brief period, Walker said he considered reopening the business as a bar concept called Flying Possum Saloon before ultimately deciding to re-open the leather shop.
“I realized that’s a young man’s game, and a young man I’m not,” he said.
Bob said the store will continue to sell many of the same products that Flying Possum fans are accustomed to, including Birkenstocks, custom sandals, shoes, boots, belts, and guitar straps.
Renovations of the space, which until recently was home to an attorney’s office, are currently underway.
Walker said he hopes to have the store up and running sometime in March.