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ANCHOR'S AWAY: Village Green closing after 36 years downtown

Myra Jansen will close her Village Green Antique Mall on New Year's Eve after 36 years on Main Street. Myra Jansen will close her Village Green Antique Mall on New Year's Eve after 36 years on Main Street.

When Myra Jansen moved into the old JC Penney building in 1984, Main Street was "deserted" and downtown shopkeepers were in a panic.

"When I first came in here, all the other merchants were very disappointed because they were praying for a big box store to come back and bring them back to life," Jansen said. "And it didn't happen of course. But I think we've proved ourselves to be worthy. ... Whenever I moved to Main Street, my business tripled."

Saturday was a busy day at the Village Green Antique Mall and even as she was closing out her 37 years downtown, Jansen was still waiting on customers and making sales. Besides selling her own furniture, jewelry  and other antiques, she rents space in the three-level store to as many as two dozen dealers. 

"So many people are moving to Hendersonville, we have sold a lot of furniture," she said. "We're giving people the best prices we can in order to liquidate. Basically my husband and I are staying in the business. I'm just not going to shopkeep anymore."

The space at 424 N. Main St. was the site of Hendersonville’s first Town Hall and Opera House. That building is thought to have burned down. In 1939 JC Penney built a department store there and operated it until 1983, when it moved to the Blue Ridge Mall.

Jansen grew up in Henderson County; her family owned Hollabrook Farm in Mills River. After teaching school in Gaston County, she moved back home and raised her children. She opened her first antique mall in 1982 on Greenville Highway and two years later found the spot in the 400 block of North Main Street. Jansen became one of the pioneers who in the mid-1980s began to shift the mix of retail on Main Street from department stores, hardware stores and dress shops to specialty shops, restaurants and thift stores.

"We became a destination," she said. "Our shop and Jane Asher's were destinations."

Jansen has had "a few nibbles" in marketing the 12,000-square-foot Village Green property, which she thinks may be the largest remaining intact space downtown. The store will close Dec. 31.

"It's worked very well or I wouldn't still be here," she said of her decision to open the antique mall. "We deliver and ship all over the country. We have so many good customers from out of town, many from Charleston, Louisiana, Alabama."