Brendan Ginsburg worried late last year about the fate of his Circle Thrift & Art Space shop in downtown Richmond.

His small thrift store and art gallery had lost its lease at 7 W. Broad St. after four years.

“At the time, we didn’t have anything worked out. It was uncertain,” Ginsburg said. “So we put everything into storage and turned it into a full search for a new spot.”

After a couple of months, he found available the former Nick’s International Foods market at 400 W. Broad St., at the corner of Broad and Monroe streets. It was the right spot — still on Broad Street, closer to Virginia Commonwealth University’s academic campus and bigger than the previous shop.

He signed a lease and immediately began renovating the former retail grocer and restaurant space in mid-April. (Nick’s International Foods moved to 2413 Westwood Ave. in January 2018.)

Circle Thrift & Art Space reopened its doors in May. It operates from noon to 8 p.m. daily.

The store is more than 50 percent bigger than the previous space, allowing for more merchandise display and more storage.

It carries the typical merchandise inventory from apparel to household items.

What sets Circle Thrift & Art Space apart from others, Ginsburg said, is that it provides consignment services for local artists and local musicians.

Ginsburg said the new location is attracting new customers while the shop’s loyal shoppers are making their way back after Circle Thrift & Art Space was closed for five months.

Tru hotel coming to Ashland in early 2020

A new hotel is under construction in Ashland — the first under a new town program for hotel operators to raze and replace dilapidated buildings and receive a tax rebate.

The five-story Tru by Hilton hotel should open sometime early next year.

The 91-room hotel will be at the northwest quadrant of state Route 54 and Interstate 95.

It is replacing a former Red Carpet Inn and vacant restaurant property that were demolished in March.

The Tru hotel brand is a new one for Hilton. The first Tru opened in 2016, and there are 60 locations across the country, including one in Farmville.

The one in Ashland is being developed by KM Hotels. Henrico County-based KM Hotels got approval to participate in the incentive program, but the rebate won’t go into effect until the property starts generating revenue.

Hotels covered by Ashland’s Economic Development Authority incentive program need to tear down the dilapidated buildings and construct a new one. A new hotel must have at least 85 rooms, generate $100,000 in transient occupancy taxes each year, and be in the town’s hospitality zone. The town’s EDA will rebate 50 percent of the transient occupancy tax for the first six years, capping it at $550,000.

“The exciting part about this is that they actually demolished an old, underperforming hotel and vacant restaurant to do this,” said Joe Topham, Ashland’s business retention and expansion manager. “This eliminated an eyesore at once, while promising even more in the future.”

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