AshevilleNews Stories

Asheville’s eclectic “Street Fair” under New Ownership

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Ashley Brown takes a break in front of her store, Street Fair.

Staff Report- In downtown Asheville, Street Fair is known for being fashionable, trendy, affordable, and stylish.  Packed into a great location at 42 Battery Park Avenue is an enormous inventory from silver, copper, and wood jewelry, colorful and comfortable jackets, tiered skirts, with a wide variety of warm hand knit hats, socks, belts, and bags. The store is filled with items from all around the world—Nepal, India, Guatemala, Mexico, African countries and yes, the USA.   The clothes are colorful, comfortable and casual; many are “no size” or one-size-fits-all with soft flowing fabrics made with low-impact dyes and organic fabrics.  You will find unique items, such as colorful garments made from recycled Indian sarees or “worry dolls” from Guatemala.  There is something to be found for everyone’s needs or taste, but with so much choice you will enjoy this shopping experience and find exactly what you want.  On warm days items often overflow onto a rack onto the sidewalk on Battery Park Avenue to tempt passers-by.   Street Fair is indeed that—a bazaar of unique items from around the world with a flair for the exotic and bohemian.

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A new arrival of accessories makes their way to an out of town shopper.

This summer Ashley Brown, who grew up in Asheville and has been a fan of the store for years, decided to buy it from Susan Turner.  With lots of plans for the future, this jewelry designer/now shopkeeper is starting on a new path with the backing of her family.  She does plan to keep some of Turner’s basic buying premises in place, like dealing with Fair Trade Companies that ensure fair pay and good working conditions for everyone in the production line. She wants items that are sustainable and environmentally friendly, possibly something that is repurposed and recycled.   At the same time she plans to refresh the merchandise, use her acquired marketing skills by enlarging the social media presence, make the store space more appealing and visual, and update the counters and registers.   It is a tall undertaking.  Overall she wants her store to be thought of as “ethnic and eclectic.” She is excited about the prospect ahead and hopes to travel for new items in the future.

Ashley graduated from Asheville High School and has a BA in Environmental Sciences from St. Johns University, Queens, NY and an Associates degree in Metals & Jewelry Design from Haywood Community College (HCC). After working in Manhattan and Sacramento, California, Ashley returned here to join her family in the area. Her mother, Karen Keil Brown, is a talented and well recognized painter found in many galleries, and many know Buster Brown for his amazing tennis ability and from his Asheville Racquet Club days.   While completing her degree at HCC, Ashley worked at Chevron Trading Post and Bead Company. She grew up shopping at Street Fair.  “Yes! I still have those items I bought back in high school. They traveled with me to college in New York City and cross-country twice to California. That beautiful Indian-made wrap skirt and my favorite, Nepalese made bag could not have been found in any other shop, than Street Fair,” says Ashley.  She always admired the style of the store,  and its significance to Asheville. “It’s like a treasure hunt! There is a treasure in Street Fair for everyone.”

With the holidays looming ahead, Street Fair is a place to go for affordable gifts. You will be sure to find something unusual that will be much appreciated.  The store is located  at 42 Battery Park Avenue, next to the Wall Street parking garage and across the street from the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville.   It is open Mon-Sat 11 am -6 pm and Sunday 12-5 pm.

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