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END OF AN ERA: With Jane Asher closing, antique retail on Main Street fades away

Jane Asher plans to close her Main Street antique store on July 24. [AMY B. MCCRAW/Hendersonville Lightning] Jane Asher plans to close her Main Street antique store on July 24. [AMY B. MCCRAW/Hendersonville Lightning]

For more than 20 years, Jane Asher offered customers a smile, a kind word and a taste of a little of everything at her store in downtown Hendersonville.

Fine crystal, unique jewelry, vintage clothing and even one room full of Christmas decorations only scratched the surface of items Asher bought and sold from her antique store over the years.
But the buying and selling and making customers feel like old friends will come to an end when Asher’s business, Jane Asher Antiques, closes for good on July 24.
“Change is good. It’s just time. I’ve done well,” Asher said Tuesday as customers took advantage of the store’s marked-down prices on the last remaining items in the store.
The going-out-of-business sale has exceeded Asher’s expectations and quieted her fears that the Covid pandemic might keep customers from buying her remaining inventory.
“It’s doing fantastic, more than I ever thought it would be,” she said. “Covid came and I thought, ‘how am I ever going to sell all this stuff?’”
Customers came back to her store after Covid restrictions eased in recent weeks in numbers she never expected, Asher said.
“When people started coming back, they couldn’t get enough. People came back in droves,” she said.
Asher said she decided “a long time ago” to retire at the end of her lease in July. She plans to focus on a skin care service she began in 2012 once her store closes.
“It’s been good. I’m going to miss the people,” she said. “But I look forward to doing something else.”
Asher, 62, was living in Greenville, S.C., in the 1990s and had worked as a registered nurse for 10 years before deciding she wanted a change and the chance to live in Hendersonville.
The opportunity she was looking for came in 1997 when Asher learned the 5,000-square-foot building at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Main Street would soon be available for rent.
Asher took her chance and opened Jane Asher Antiques in the building on Aug. 1, 1997.
“My parents were into antiques. They used to drive me to antique auctions forever,” she said. “It was in me to be a businesswoman.”
Asher wanted to create a business where customers were always treated to courteous, friendly service. She also wanted a store that provided quality items to both avid collectors and to people looking for vintage pieces to decorate their homes and offices.
She sold estate and costume jewelry, antiques, furniture, vintage clothing, sterling silver, china and crystal, christening gowns, books and linens among other items.
Asher’s store was also well known for her personally signed, black and white gift wrapping with a big yellow bow.
She credits her success for more than 20 years on Main Street to her commitment to her customers and to her work ethic.
“I tried to be nice to everyone and I had something for everybody,” she said. “I’ve devoted my life to this business. I’ve worked very, very hard. I have a lot of faithful customers and I appreciate that.”
When Asher opened her business, downtown was home to eight antique stores. Her store is the last of those full-scale antique businesses to close. The other last remaining antique business on Main Street, Village Green Antique Mall, closed on Dec. 31.
“It’s going to change now with the two antique stores gone,” she said.
Asher said she wasn’t sure what business might open next in the building. She guessed a restaurant or possibly condominiums upstairs.
Whatever new business opens at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Main Street, many will remember the property as the antique store where they always met a friendly shopkeeper who wrapped their purchases with a personal touch.