Staples is in the house

It’s been hard to miss Staples — both on Merrimon Avenue and in the headlines. The store’s sign and faux-brick facade set off alarms with community groups, while the company’s steadfastness in the face of requests by Asheville City Council furrowed brows with frustration.

Now, Staples is coming out into the light in a joint press conference with the city.

The meeting is open to the public, and will be held Monday, Jan. 28, at the Public Works Facility, 161 S. Charlotte St.

Considering the buzz around town, we are expecting a packed house.

The full press release from the city of Asheville is below.

— Brian Postelle, staff writer


City of Asheville & Staples

January 23, 2008

City of Asheville               Staples
Contact: Laurie Saxton         Local Contact: Kathi Petersen         Corporate Contact: Amy Shanler,   
Phone: (828) 259-5981       Phone: (828) 712-1286               Director of Public Relations  
Cell: (828) 552-1311                                                   Phone: (508) 253-6709


        The City of Asheville and Staples will host a joint press conference to present proposed site enhancements for the Staples store on Merrimon Avenue. The proposal is expected to include elements that would soften the building’s overall appearance and reduce the size of its signage. Speakers at the event will include City of Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy; Ted Frumkin, Vice President of Real Estate, Staples; and Andrew Thorpe, Vice President of Facilities Management, Staples. The public is invited to attend the presentation.


        City of Asheville Public Works Facility, 161 S. Charlotte St., Rooms A109-111


        Monday, Jan. 28, 2 p.m.


For the past several months, Staples has been working closely with Mayor Terry Bellamy to develop solutions that address community concerns raised about the store on Merrimon Avenue. Mayor Bellamy traveled to the Staples corporate offices in Framingham, Mass., in early September to ask Staples to consider alternatives that would enhance the Merrimon Avenue site. Staples has worked since then to develop a proposal addressing community concerns and is traveling to Asheville to publicly present its ideas.



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12 thoughts on “Staples is in the house

  1. mountainman

    What’s the big freaking deal! Staples is acting like they’re giving some big concession to the city by reducing the size of their sign (in accordance with city code), and putting some lipstick on that pig of a wall to placate those who have rightfully complained about it for so long. If the city had strictly enforced the code ordinances to begin with, this never would have been an issue!! Stop kissing the asses of these businesses and greedy developers, and have them play by the rules, they’re not about to take their ball go home, and if they want to play in our court they play by OUR RULES, not their rules.

  2. Sage

    Staples is FUGLY but on the other hand they have kind of turned into the town whipping boy which is not fair. There’s all kinds of ugly in this town that got by the UDO and City Council. Staples happens to be close to downtown and visible so get all the grief.

  3. New Boy

    Sage said,
    “There’s all kinds of ugly in this town that got by the UDO and City Council.”

    Got by or was led by?? Both the city Attorney and the planning Director said there was nothing wrong with Staples. It’s also time for a New city Attorney. He clearly represents the interest of business…

    It took citizens filing an appeal to shed light on the violation. An appeal the city refused to hear. Sounds like monkey business to me. I saw “good ol’ boy” with a monkey the other day.

    It’s really kind of sad. Who is looking out for the citizens.

  4. mountainman

    Ralph, I find their prices way too high, and inventory weak. I much prefer Office Depot or Max.

  5. Nam Vet

    The only time I have entered the Staples on Merrimon is to use their restroom. I refuse to shop there. The few times I’ve been in, the store only had a 2 or 3 customers. But the true fault in allowing this monstrosity to be built as it has been built lies with the city planning and zoning dept…and anyone else at city of Asheville that allowed variances for this piece of UGLINESS. This store should’ve been built out on Tunnel Road, or some other newer strip mall area. NOT on Merrimon as it does not fit in at all with the other houses and businesses there. I say, tear it down and put in elsewhere.

  6. travelah

    Staples is a reasonably decent company that serves a market niche in Asheville. I am guessing they did a market survey of the area and site logistics before building the store and hopefully realized that the chronically disgruntled freak element of downtown Asheville were not part of their business plan.

  7. Nam Vet

    Travelah, if Staples had been “reasonable”, they would’ve realized that building a monsterously ugly building in the middle of an older neighborhood would be very unsightly, and cause the backlash it has caused. And not only with “freaks”, but lifelong residents of Asheville who deplore the inconsiderate “big box” building where it was built. If they wanted to be in that particular location, they should’ve built a building that fitted in with the neighborhood, much as McDonald’s did in Biltmore Village. But the primary blame is with the greedy City employees, and their handlers, who agreed to variances in building codes to put up this piece of do-do. Like I said. The only way to fix it is to tear it down.

  8. travelah

    Nam, if those people who object to Staples being there are willing to pay for a new building offering the same footage, I wouldn’t have any issue (other than the business interruption). Overall, I don’t have any great issue with their building. They could have designed a building more in line with somebody else’s vision but they didn’t and since they were paying for it, they called the shots.
    Let me touch on this a bit. Why is it that those objecting are so intent on building Asheville in a style I liken to “post-modern head tourist”? It seems they want a quaint junkshop design here, eclectic seedpod refueling station there and $250/mo condos scattered in between. What I would like to see in Asheville (or return) is what is in West Asheville, a good healthy mix of urban living, retail, social, church etc along with a business community.

  9. Nam Vet

    Travelah, there are building and zoning laws that need to be followed. The City did not enforce the rules already on the books. Someone decided to allow “variances” for these two, Staples and Greenlife. So it is not up to the business to build anyway they see fit. Neighbors and the City have a say so, as it should be. I just think that some of the folks at City Hall are selling us out for the development tax dollars. My vision for Asheville? To KEEP the character as it already is, with development done carefully and insisting that new buildings fit in with what’s already in the neighborhood. Otherwise, we would look like the haphazard strip mall areas around I26 and 64 exit in Hendersonville.

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