Friday, October 3, 2008

Mrs. Powell's Buildings

They're tearing down a couple of Mrs. Powell's buildings. Patti Anne and I sat at Myra's for awhile and watched. One of the buildings, I believe, was the oldest on Main Street.
I think Mrs. Powell is 94 years old. And until a big blow-up happened somehow and the health department condemned her buildings, she rented rooms, rented a house, and rented to businesses. I'm fairly certain that if I make it to 94, I will not be dealing with renters. Most likely I'll be dealing with pieces of burned toast in runny oatmeal. I'm pretty sure that Mrs Powell had enough money that she didnt have to deal with renters if she didnt want to.
She was fun to talk to, I remember sitting out back with her and a couple of cats. She told me she'd have to "scare me up some chesnuts sometime".
Before we even moved to Valdese (back when we lived in Hickory, after first moving to NC), we were looking for a place for a business & we ended up renting a small store space from Mrs. Powell, for what we thought was a good price. It wasnt. We were not aware of the differences between Hickory rents and Valdese rents, and this was the lowest rent we'd seen, by far. (Good reason for that) But compared to other businesses on main street in Valdese, it was high. Our business there (selling antiques, collectibles etc) didn't work out and has moved almost exclusively online now. Part of the reason, not the whole reason, but part of it was the rent. We pretty much found we were working for Mrs. Powell. She would not renegotiate it, so, we left.
About 3 months later someone else moved in with a new business and also failed. They lasted 2 months, I think. And I understand that site had a history of businesses not working out. Hmmmmm..........perhaps we should have done a bit of research. Oh well, water under the bridge. And that little store is history now. I have pictures tho.
3 of Mrs. Powell's 4 buildings will be gone. The large brick building has been bought and sold again - pretty much flipped, except without being fixed up - and is going to be made into condos I believe. We'll see how that goes.
So Mrs. Powell, who was something of an institution in this town, is no longer a force. This was a locally well known person who was either liked or not liked by everyone, as is usually the case with locally well known people. I remember thinking, and probably commenting to Patti Anne, after just a couple of conversations with Mrs. Powell, that I bet she had some enemies around town. It was just an impression, nothing specific. But, except for sticking it to us over rent, Mrs. Powell was always nice to us. It was interesting to listen to her talk.


Anonymous said...

And her biggest critic (nameless man) got her buildings and belongs, stripped out everything and sold it at a profit, then resold the buildings to the condo developer at 1000% profit (direct from his mouth). Poor old thing! Rest in peace, old buildings.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I bet she was one hell of an interesting person. I wonder if anyone can convince her to share her life story.

A Valdese Blogger said...

I dont know. In her younger days she was apparently a very good singer & had some talent as an artist. And of course was a business woman.