With just 15 days left before their ‘right of refusal’ runs out the Owners of Fermental, the bottle shop in Ogden is hoping to find a private investor or some sort of ‘creative bank loan.’
By Michael Praats | September 22, 2020 at 11:33 AM EDT – Updated September 22 at 11:33 AM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – A Wilmington watering hole is searching for a solution to hopefully save it’s location from becoming bought and replaced with an oil change shop.
Since 2012, Fermental has been a staple in Ogden, but according to owners Steve and Kristen Gibbs, the bottle shop and live music space is at risk of being sold by landlords unless they can figure out a way to match the offer.
“After nearly eight years in business as your local neighborhood bottle shop, our landlord has recently accepted a purchase offer on the property that we rent. Fortunately, at our most recent lease update, we added a ‘Right Of First Refusal’ to our contract. This amendment gives us the option to purchase the property before the oil company, but only at their offered price and during a limited time frame,” Steve said.
Unfortunately, securing a traditional loan to purchase the property has been difficult since the offered price on the property is $850,000, which, according to the Gibbs, is more expensive than the property is appraised at.
However, hope is not yet lost for the owners, they are hoping to get the message out to possibly find another way of purchasing the property through a ‘creative loan’ or hopefully, attracting private investors who want to help.
The support from the community has been overwhelming to say the least, Kristen said. In just two days since making the announcement on social media, the outreach from Fermental customers has been huge, she said, with the post being shared hundreds of times.
Although she knew it was a popular hangout in Ogden, she said she was surprised by the number of people who said the bottle shop and beer garden is like a second home.
The Gibbs are doing what the can to try and find a way to purchase the property but time is running out.
“We found out about this about a month ago and our right of first refusal gave us 30 business days to try and come up with the money,” Steve said.
But as can be imagined, coming up with that amount of money in a month has been difficult which is why they are turning to their neighbors for help.
“Our current lease is valid through January 2022, and our landlord and the prospective buyers contend that if we are unable to purchase the property, our lease will remain valid. So no matter what happens, we’ll be with you at this location until then,” according to the Gibbs.
While they are looking to their neighbors for support they are not planning on utilizing crowd sourcing to pay for the property, it was something they had discussed and determined it would not be right to do that. Instead, they are hoping someone looking to invest in the area sees the opportunity and takes it.
Regardless of what happens the Gibbs plan on continuing Fermental, it just might be at a different location. They are hoping to stay in the Ogden and Porters Neck area, but finding a suitable property has been challenging Steve said. Developers have purchased many of the properties that they have looked at and residential developments are springing up all over the area, he said.
At the end of the day there are no hard feelings between the Gibbs and the owner of the property, both Steve and Kristen said they understand why they want to sell, it is just yet another set back for the shop in an already difficult year. Fermental was impacted by Governor Cooper’s shut down and the service side of the business, that is, live music and serving drinks on premises had only just reopened when they got the news they might have to move.
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