Gym, restaurant, possibly Aveda coming to University Mall
Openings at U Mall: Planet Fitness is opening a 21,469-square-foot fitness center at University Mall in Chapel Hill, mall officials announced Thursday.
The location is expected to open late this year in one of the spaces created by the expected departure of the mall’s Roses store at the end of June.
The Roses location is closing after more than 40 years at the Chapel Hill mall.
Wilson Sawyer, chief operating officer for Henderson-based Variety Wholesalers, the parent company of Roses stores, said in an interview in April that the Chapel Hill location was slated to close because the mall landlord raised the store’s rent and wanted more than half of the space for another tenant.
In another space created by the eventual Roses departure, the directory shows that it’s going to be occupied by the cosmetology school Aveda Institute Chapel Hill, which is currently downtown on Franklin Street. Attempts to reach the school’s owner for comment by deadline Thursday morning were unsuccessful.
In addition, the mall announced that the contemporary Mexican restaurant Tacos & Tequila is opening at the mall later this year.
Distillery to hold grand opening: Fair Game Beverage Co., the Pittsboro-based start-up distillery formerly known as Devil’s Distillery, is holding a grand opening in June to launch its first fortified wines.
The distillery is using grapes from the Alamance County winery Benjamin Vineyards to make fortified port wine, brandy and a rum-style spirit. It’s also sourcing a small amount of grapes from other wineries around the Haw River area.
In addition, it’s sourcing apples from western North Carolina, and peaches from the Sandhills area for its other fruit dessert wines and brandies, said Chris Jude, head distiller, in an email.
Jude said the distillery is distilling a scuppernong wine to a neutral brandy with more than 80 percent alcohol to fortify the grape wines, and is also making apple brandy and apple wine. He said the distillery can sell fortified wine or dessert wines to any store or restaurant with a fortified wine sales permit.
He said the distillery is planning to do most of its fortified wine sales directly through its on-site tasting room, but may approach several restaurants about carrying them as well. The distillery’s spirits are expected to come out later this fall and would have to be sold through ABC stores.
Andy Zeman, the co-owner of Benjamin Vineyards, is a managing partner behind the distillery along with Lyle Estill, a founder of the Pittsboro-based biodiesel producer Piedmont Biofuels.
The grand opening will be held at the site of the Piedmont Biofuels plant, where the distillery is housed.
Guests are invited to wear circus attire to the event, which will include Tarot card readings, live music and sales of the distillery’s fortified wines.
The event will be held at 220 Lorax Lane in Pittsboro. Guests are asked to register through the website http://www.eventbrite.com/e/fair-game-beverage-co-grand-opening-tickets-11579563787. Tickets are free, but limited.
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