Updated: April 2019
A Modern Department Store
In the early-1920s, businesses were booming and expanding in Asheville. The Bon Marché Department Store, which at the time was located at the northwest corner of Patton and Lexington Avenues – the current Kress Building, was in dire need of extra space. As it happened, Solomon Lipinsky, the owner of the Bon Marché Department Store, and Edwin Wiley Grove, a wealthy businessman, were friends. Grove hired architect William Lee Stoddart in 1923, who was working for him on the new Battery Park Hotel and the George Vanderbilt Hotel, to provide plans for a larger building for his friend’s Bon Marché Department Store.
The new building on Haywood Street was built according to Solomon Lipinsky’s specifications and used the best fireproof construction materials that were available. It is a classical 4-story commercial structure with ashlar limestone façade and sheet metal cornice.
The Bon Marché Department Store was a sensation in Asheville at a time, when Asheville was rapidly modernizing. It had four floors with everything from clothing to rugs and supplies. The Bon Marché Department Store was also tastefully decorated with mahogany cases and featured a hydraulic elevator, the first in a public building in North Carolina.
Driven by this success more locations opened in Charlotte NC, Wilmington NC, and Columbia SC. The Bon Marché Department Stores were a family business, whose locations were mostly managed by his sons.
The Bon Marché Department Store sponsored radio broadcasts and invited famous designers and make-up artists. The firm also provided training to their employees to enable them to succeed in their jobs.
In 1937, the Bon Marché Department Store moved to a different building across the street on 33 Haywood Street where it remained for 42 years until it closed in 1979. The building stood empty until 1990 when the Earth Guild bought and renovated it.
In 1937, the Ivey’s Department Store, a Charlotte-based chain, moved into Bon Marché’s former location and occupied the building until it relocated in the mid-1970s.
Today, the Historic Bon Marché Department Store is home to the Haywood Park Hotel, a spacious 33-room boutique hotel, which opened in 1985.
Did You Know?
Solomon Lipinsky was known for his immense dedication and contribution to the community. He believed in giving back and leaving a positive impact on the city and its citizens.
Solomon Lipinsky was born in Richmond VA in 1856 and moved to Tarboro NC in 1877, where he met and married Eva Whitlock. In 1881, the couple moved to Asheville, where Solomon started to work as a clerk at a local store owned by his brother-in-law.
By 1887, Solomon Lipinsky owned a dry-goods store together with his half-sister Eva Ellick. It was called Lipinsky and Ellick. He started to use the name Bon Marché around 1911 when Asheville was booming and his business thriving.
1 Battery Park Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
STREET VIEWING ONLY.
Wall Street Parking Garage.
Civic Center Parking Garage.
Public bus stop: Haywood St at College St.
Stop Gray Line Historic Trolley: Grove Arcade.