Fermental announces move to Cargo District, Ogden site goes under contract

Fermental will move from its Ogden site to the Cargo District in the new year. (Photo from Port City Daily / Alexandria Williams)

WILMINGTON – A neighborhood bottle store in Ogden will be relocating after a year of trying to find a way to stay put. Owner Steven Gibbs will be relocating Fermental 8.5 miles from The Cargo District, he announced on Tuesday.

“While every attempt was made to stay at our current location, in the end it was an impossible acquisition,” he said.

READ MORE: Development – not coronavirus – could cause Ogden neighborhood small businesses to close

A Charlotte real estate company, Durban Development, has contracted at 7250-A Market St., with plans to build a Take 5 Oil Change. The half-acre property was listed for $ 850,000 last year; Gibbs and his wife, Kristen, had negotiated a first right of refusal in the lease to buy it from landlord Dennis Stokely.

They applied for traditional loans, but encountered many problems along the way, Gibbs explained. The asking price for the property’s appraisal, just over $ 300,000, was too high to secure the capital.

“And on the real estate records, there is an easement on the property that is not meant to be officially used for parking,” Gibbs explained.

This parking area was intended to be an entrance and exit to the complex, built in 1950, which also serves other cabins nearby – one previously lived in Tame and Mane, which crossed Market Street a year ago, and the other being A Atlantic Coast Lock.

“Somewhere in the past, for decades, it was just some sort of handshake deal that was crafted into a parking lot,” Gibbs said.

He was ready to throw in the towel when an investor who lived nearby stepped in to help, but was also deterred by the bondage issue, Gibbs explained. Essentially, if nearby properties were sold, new owners could take offense at the parking situation, which would impact all businesses.

A year ago the gossip was that Take 5 would be picking up all the cabins in the little place.

“At least that was their original plan,” Gibbs said. “They were going to buy all of this. And they started to run into problems with this bondage. They have allowed their review period to run on this property a few times.

Representatives from Durban Development did not respond to Port City Daily for comment, but owner Stokely confirmed on Tuesday that the oil change business was under contract only for the Fermental corner lot.

Gibbs said he exhausted his research trying to keep the bottle store in Ogden once he realized a move was imminent: “Even when our investor pulled out, we continued doing everything we can to try to stay here. “

He had developed a loyal following from neighboring neighborhoods, such as Brandywine and Queens Point, over the past nine years. Families cycled to picnic in the beer garden, listened to live music, and took advantage of the frequently parked food trucks on weekends.

It became so popular that crash parking started filling the nearby Big Lots parking lot.

“My wife and I live just three blocks away,” Gibbs said. “We know this place meant a lot to the neighbors. “

During his research, Gibbs said he looked to Hampstead, Scott’s Hill and Porters Neck, up to Monkey Junction and even downtown Wilmington, where he opened his first bottle store and bar at wine, Bottega, over ten years ago (which has since been sold twice). He and his wife kept one goal in mind, he said: to stay out of a mall.

They came across 600 S. 17th St., on the corner of Castle Street, near the Cargo District’s anchored distillery, End of Days. Fermental’s new home is owned by Matt Scharf of Real Properties LLC – the company behind the one-bedroom apartments, Studio 17, located one block across from the ABC store in Castle and 17th Street.

The building provides almost double the square footage (1,800) of Ogden’s interior space. Another 2,000 square feet makes up the beer garden, about a third of Ogden’s outdoor space.

As fate would have it, the bottle store moved from a location intended to become an oil change business and landed in a former gas station from the 1960s. Scharff agreed to fit out part of the building, who needs an HVAC system, as well as an additional bathroom, according to Gibbs. The new tenants will build bars and areas for coolers.

“We’re going to go ahead with making glassware rather than unnecessary plastic,” Gibbs said, “and so that requires a lot of plumbing. We’re kind of forced to use it here. [in Ogden] because it is impossible to put dishwashers, sinks and stuff in the chalet.

Gibbs said he may reduce retail inventory at the new location, although he plans to offer more drafts. Live music will always be booked, as will arts and crafts events, takeovers and food trucks. He finalizes the schedules but leans to operate from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Although he has said he will miss the close ties he has established with Ogden customers, expansion in the future is not ruled out. “Maybe we’ll come back one day,” he said.

Take 5 is expected to close on the Market Street property in January 2022. Gibbs will shut down Fermental by the end of the year and reopen in its new location by January or February, although the timelines are loose.

If by any chance the current closure fails, Gibbs said he would operate at both locations. “Anything can happen by then,” he said, “but we’re locked in at the new place.”

For now, a farewell celebration is scheduled at Fermental for Saturday December 4th. It will include an inventory sale, live music and food trucks.

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