A Southern Season, the Chapel Hill gourmet and kitchenwares store, has been sold, according to a press release issued late Tuesday evening.
Longtime owner Michael Barefoot, who opened the store in an 800-square-foot space in 1975, has sold the company to TC Capital Fund, a joint venture between two Chapel Hill investment funds. Those include Carrboro Capital Corporation and Tryon Capital Ventures. The founders of Carrboro Capital are Clay Hamner, Betty Kenan and Phil Phillips and the founders of Tryon Capital are Pete Coker and Peter Reichard.
Tuesday's announcement was not surprising given that there had been rumblings that the store was struggling financially and a couple employees were recently laid off.
Barefoot will remain involved the store's operations, along with business partners Tim Manale and Briggs Wesche. The store includes the Weathervane restaurant, a prepared food deli and cheese counter, kitchenwares, gourmet foods and a cooking school.
“A core part of our mission has always been ‘local ownership and operation,'" said founder Michael Barefoot in the press release. “That will not change; ownership remains local in this new corporate structure … we will now be positioned to grow to the next level.”
Hamner, a longtime fan and shopper at Southern Season, said in the press release: "We are pleased to join forces with the A Southern Season team ... We will re-invest significantly to grow the business, including enhancing the retail shopping experience, expanding existing product lines and bringing in new products to surprise and delight our customers, as well as expanding and enhancing our online shopping experience.”
Hamner is the director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School.
If you would like to see the press release, I have attached it below.