• The old Bank of America building on Upper Street has been re-purposed to include eight studio spaces available for $200 per month. (Photo submitted)
    The old Bank of America building on Upper Street has been re-purposed to include eight studio spaces available for $200 per month. (Photo submitted)

Downtown businesses on the move

Former Bank of America building re-branded to attract local artists

SPRUCE PINE – The two businesses that rented retail space from Uptown Funk owner Jann Godwin are on the move. 

Godwin closed Uptown Funk this past month. Gina Gregory, owner of Private Eyes Cosmetics, and Mike Soriano, owner of Llama Ink Tattoos, left the building but quickly found new homes for their businesses. 

Gregory has moved her business to the Cross Street Commerce Center. She said she has about three times as much space in the new location. Gregory said Private Eyes, which specializes in permanent cosmetics, enjoyed a profitable year in 2018. 

“I’m so happy to be up here,” she said. “There’s a huge window facing east, which gives me beautiful morning sunlight. When you’re working on people’s skin, it’s important to have natural lighting.”

Soriano announced in a Facebook post Llama Ink was moving to the old Bank of America building on Upper Street, which has been remodeled and is now dubbed the “Bank Art” building. 

“There is still a lot of work that needs to get done before we can open,” Soriano wrote in the post. “Most bookings are for January and February at the moment.”

The Bank Art building has artist studio spaces available for $200 per month. 

Kent Dauderman of WNC Rentals, who is fielding inquiries for the available spaces, said three of the eight spaces had been rented.

Each space is about 200 square feet, and some of the spaces have outside windows. 

There is a common area Dauderman said may one day be made into a shared artist gallery area. 

Dauderman added the Spruce Pine Motel, which was recently purchased by investor Todd Leoni, who also owns the Bank Art building, will soon be completely remodeled. 

Dauderman said the remodel will aim to make the motel more “tourist friendly” and will no longer support long-term tenants. 

The motel renovations should be complete in about six months. 

The motel’s front office has been completely remodeled and will feature a large rack with brochures promoting downtown merchants as well as copies of menus from downtown restaurants. 

“We’re promoting downtown with it,” Dauderman said. “We’re getting people excited about it.”

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616