Longtime downtown Fayetteville bookstore, art gallery that doubles in size

City Center Gallery & Books on Hay Street in Fayetteville next to what will soon become an extension for the bookstore.

City Center Gallery & Books, a staple of downtown Fayetteville for two decades, is expanding.

The bookstore, which opened at 112 Hay St. in 2003, will soon become the neighboring 110 Hay St., an expansion that will more than double the size of the existing store.

Owners Hank and Diane Parfitt said they envision the new space as a place for book signings, artist receptions, classes, workshops and other events, with the addition of sofas and chairs offering plenty of seating.

A view of the unfinished space at 110 Hay St. that will eventually become a meeting and exhibition space for City Center Gallery & Books.

A view of the unfinished space at 110 Hay St. that will eventually become a meeting and exhibition space for City Center Gallery & Books.

Unlike the current store, which can be squeezed around shelves and can accommodate a standing crowd of around 20 people, the new space will comfortably accommodate double that amount.

“It will be like a living room,” Diane Parfitt said.

Crews are working to dismantle the metal panels that covered the facade of 110 Hay St. in Fayetteville.  The long-vacant building was purchased by Hank and Diane Parfitt, owners of City Center Gallery & Books, with plans to expand their bookstore into nearby space.

Crews are working to dismantle the metal panels that covered the facade of 110 Hay St. in Fayetteville. The long-vacant building was purchased by Hank and Diane Parfitt, owners of City Center Gallery & Books, with plans to expand their bookstore into the adjoining space.

The Parfitts hope to open the expansion by Christmas, and work is already underway. Outdated metal panels that once covered the building’s facade were removed in early April, as were the glass display cases that served as a holdover from the building’s jewelry store past.

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On the new property, they plan to open the second-floor windows that had been bricked in decades earlier and rehab the exterior to resemble the existing store.

The couple bought the building next door in November – both to expand their growing business, but also to save the long-neglected building which had housed a number of jewelery stores over the years and had been vacant since the 1980s.

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If 110 had fallen into such disrepair that the city stepped in to demolish the building, it would have posed problems for the long-term structural integrity of the Parfitt’s current location. And they invested a lot in the building. Not only do they run the store on the first level, but they live in the second floor apartment above.

“The worst thing you can have for one of your old buildings is to have the building next to it demolished,” said Hank Parfitt. “We had to buy it to save our building.”

Inside Downtown Gallery & Books, 112 Hay St., Fayetteville.

Inside City Center Gallery & Books, 112 Hay St., Fayetteville.

Before opening the art gallery and bookstore in its current location, the Parfitts started the business as an art gallery in rented space on Maxwell Street in 1999. In 2006, they purchased 124 Hay St., which housed several restaurants before becoming the current home. from Gaston Brewery. They sold the building to Gaston owners in 2018.

As longtime advocates of downtown Fayetteville, the Parfitts said they were happy to be part of the revitalization of the area and part of the “family” of downtown business owners.

“We have a sense of community here that I haven’t felt anywhere else,” said Hank Parfitt.

This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: City Center Gallery & Books in Fayetteville planning a big expansion

William E. Bennett