By Dave Russell


Construction is underway in three downtown Sylva buildings, making room for beer, Mexican food and art.

There’s a new stop for local produce and an eclectic mixture of other items on the south side. Rotisserie chickens and three-meat sub sandwiches are popular fare at a new deli counter in town.

Downtown Sylva’s taproom tour soon has another stop, as Franklin’s Lazy Hiker Brewing Co. opens a taproom in conjunction with Mad Batter, 617 W. Main St. 

As planned, the taproom will feature Mad Batter’s full menu and 12-15 brews on tap, said Graham Norris, Lazy Hiker head brewer.  

A name has not been nailed down, but it would be something along the lines of “Lazy Hiker Taproom,” featuring the “Mad Batter Kitchen,” he said. 

The building is closed during renovations, which should take about a month and include a pet-friendly patio and outdoor space. 

The businesses plan to hold a grand opening on Aug. 23. 

“Downtown Sylva will be an even more well-known beer destination, with four breweries within walking distance of one another,” Norris said.

Mad Batter will discontinue showing free weekend movies, owner Jeannette Evans said.

“There will be other activities that I think the community will enjoy,” she said. “We’ve absolutely adored being in Sylva for the past five years and know our customers will love the changes, especially the addition of patio spaces.”

Sheetrock is up and the floor has been laid at the new El Patron location in one-half of the old Flowers Baking Co. building at 86 W. Main St., across from Wilson Chiropractic. The opening date was postponed from August to September, owner Jose Lopez said. 

As planned, the new location will have outdoor dining, a full service bar, seating for 230 customers and ample parking on the 1.32-acre space, he said.

When the new restaurant opens, the old restaurant in Walmart Plaza would close for about two weeks while it transforms into a build-your-own burrito counter, in the style of Chipotle or Moe’s Southwest Grill, Lopez said.

El Patron is leasing the entire building, but Lopez is not sure what they might do with the other half. 

He plans to employ about 30 full- and part-time people, he said.


Harold’s Supermarket, at 80 West Sylva Shopping Center since 1968, has added a delicatessen. The counter offers Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, rotisserie chicken and freshly made sandwiches. It opened in early June and is doing well, according to assistant manager Ashlan Jones. 

“It’s growing,” she said. “Lunchtime can be really busy. We sell a lot of subs.” 

The $5.99 rotisserie chickens are the best seller, followed closely by the three-meat sub sandwich.

Potato salad and other sides come from an outside source, but the staff makes broccoli, chicken and corn salads in-house.

“We try to do something different every week,” Jones said.

Harold’s in March added chiller shelves and beer and wine sales began after 50 years of being a “dry” store.


Victoria Shufelt and her husband, Aaron, have begun renovations on the garage portion of the former Cogdill Motor Co. building, aka “that building that got hit by a van a few years ago.” 

When the dust settles, Viva Arts will open.

“We’ll be teaching all kinds of art classes,” Victoria Shufelt said. “Primarily, we’ll teach more three-dimensional art, such as pottery and metal working. We’ll also have mixed media, painting, drawing, really any art you can think of, we’ll be offering.”

Aaron Shufelt plans to open a glassblowing studio. He worked out of Green Energy Park for many years, where he did glassblowing demonstrations. 

“He’ll have a furnace and the whole setup,” Victoria Shufelt said. “We don’t yet know if we will teach glassblowing classes or not.” 

Viva will be fully open and ready for students this fall, Victoria Shufelt said.

Sylva native Aaron Shufelt is the son of Kirk Shufelt of Kirk’s Woodshop.

The 4,250 square foot building, at 456 W. Main St., is part of the National Register of Historic Places downtown district.


River’s Edge Market opened two weeks ago, selling fruit and vegetables, fishing poles, honey, snacks, drinks and more in the former Jack the Dipper location at 944 N.C. 107 South.

The emphasis is on selling fresh, local produce, though much of it comes from South Carolina and Georgia at this time in the season, employee Dieter Kuhn said.

“We have local eggs, mushrooms, honey and whatever else we can get from local farmers around here,” he said.

River’s Edge will be open year-round.

“We will sell pumpkins in the fall and Christmas trees and things like that,” he said. 

The shop will soon be a one-stop shop for fishermen and coffee drinkers. The Tuckaseigee River is in the shop’s back yard.

“It’s the best known trout stream in the state,” Kuhn said. “We’ll have fishing supplies and coffee and snacks for fisherman to get going in the morning.” 

The store is open 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. seven days a week.