Bristol, Virginia, residents were given some sobering news this week concerning “The Falls” development. WJHL .com reported on Tuesday that two of the expected businesses were not coming. Agreements with Calhoun’s and Smoky Mountain Brewery have apparently fallen through. The anchor stores, Cabela’s and Lowe’s are open and doing well, at least according to Mayor Archie Hubbard. Contrary to popular opinion, he stresses that no money has been lost in the development.
On Thursday, WCYB reported that four other businesses have signed leases. Buffalo Wild Wings, Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steak burgers, Sports Clips and More Nail Salon are planning stores at The Falls.
Bristol,Virginia, has invested a great deal of public time and money into The Falls, but Bristol Tennessee beat them to the draw with an even bigger development only a few minutes down the road. The Pinnacle opened first with their anchor store Bass Pro Shops. Bristol, Tennessee, worked in conjunction with developer Steve Johnson, carrying a much smaller portion of expenses on “The Pinnacle” than Bristol, Virginia, did on The Falls.
Recent news stories about Bass Pro Shops acquiring Cabela’s has created some local speculation. Pure common sense leads to the conclusion that Bass Pro Shops would consider closing one of the two local locations, probably Cabela’s, since it is a much smaller store. This could spell big trouble for the already slow-starting development. And this, in turn could spell economic disaster for Bristol,Virginia, because they have put a lot of eggs in this basket.