Courtesy Photo: At the site of the Henry County Furniture Museum, from left, are Rob Spilman Jr.; Randy Hatchett, director of engineering and facilities for Bassett Furniture and manager of the Bassett Train Station Event Center; Jeb Bassett; Edward H. White; and DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation.
The Henry County Furniture Museum received a $35,900 grant from The Harvest Foundation to continue improvements to the Bassett area that aim to attract visitors and new businesses creating a vibrant community.
The vision began with the Smith River Small Towns Collaborative and that group’s mission to revitalize Bassett, Fieldale and the surrounding communities. Many projects have taken place, including renovations to the Fieldale Community Center and grounds, façade improvements along Marshall Way and Reed Stone, in addition to an overhaul of the grounds and structure at the Bassett Train Station Event Center, formerly the Bassett Train Depot.
Grant funding from The Harvest Foundation primarily will be used to update the building at 188 Reed Stone Street in Bassett, owned by the Henry County Furniture Museum. Harvest funding encompasses 20 percent of the total project budget. The building is planned to house a sandwich shop or café to provide dining and retail options for local residents and visitors to the area.
“The Bassett area is full of potential tourism growth from visitors and patrons because of the bustling activity from area industry and the recreational opportunities at Fairystone Park and Philpott Lake,” said DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation. “Supporting revitalization in Martinsville and Henry County only helps our community grow and benefit from increased sales, meals and lodging tax. When we develop and grow our local amenities, residents feel good about where they live, and in turn, we increase our attractiveness to potential employers and new residents.”
Jeb Bassett with the Henry County Furniture Museum organization believes an attractive storefront and outdoor patio yields many benefits to the area.
“With the Bassett Train Station Event Center located just across the street, and the success of the GBAC (Greater Bassett Area Community) cruise-ins, having dining options nearby will keep patrons in the immediate area for longer periods of time,” Bassett said. “The coffee/sandwich shop will be another dining option for local businesses and their employees, targeting the northern end of Henry County. It will be another option for dining for visitors passing through the area on the way to Philpott Lake, the marina and Fairystone Park. The Harvest Foundation’s support with this grant assists in making a vision that was created six years ago a reality.”
The Bassett Train Station Event Center will be open for business in early 2020. The clock garden, landscaping and curb in gutter create a “fresh look” for the Bassett downtown area. There also are arrangements in place for a local Henry County resident to open a café in the area soon.
The Henry County Furniture Museum leadership includes Robert H. Spilman Jr., Bassett and Edward H. White.