CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A major transformation of the Woolen Mills area is seeing the first fruits of its labor.
An Albemarle County brewery is opening its doors for the first time, as other businesses just begin to reopen during the pandemic.
Selvedge Brewing is the first to open its doors to the public on the newly renovated property. However, it was no easy task as it took three years and overcoming the obstacle of COVID-19 to finally get to this point.
“This past month has been a roller coaster, that’s for sure,” said Partner and COO of The Wool Factory Dan FitzHenry.
For FitzHenry, the grand opening of the brewery did not quite go according to plan.
“This is three years in the making, plus about three months, because of COVID,” he said. “Today’s just utter elation and excitement.”
The Wool Factory, containing Selvedge and other venues, is a restoration of the old Woolen Mills textile factory. In addition to Selvedge Brewing, a couple other spots at the factory will open soon. The Workshop will open its doors to the public for the first time on Friday.
Broadcloth, a more intimate restaurant, is still deciding when it will open.
“We have plenty of space here in our tap room for safe seating and keeping people spaced out and proper circulation,” FitzHenry said about Selvedge.
As the first Woolen Mills space to open to the public, Selvedge is laying the groundwork for opening a new business amid a pandemic.
“It’s a blessing and a curse, obviously, we are not opening as we had originally planned,” FitzHenry said. “But it allowed us to kind of recreate our operation from the very beginning, and we trained our staff in proper safety protocols, everyone will be wearing masks, will be wearing gloves.”
The brewery is only open for reservations in order to limit possible exposure.
“That’s so that we know that anyone who comes on site has a place to land and that’s very important in our kind of safety protocols,” FitzHenry said.
In addition, Selvedge will maintain contact-less ordering and payment.
Even with several protocols in place, FitzHenry is confident that it will not take away from unique experience.
“You can plan for tomorrow, so we are not letting the interesting situation in which we’re opening, bring us down and we’re just super excited to welcome everyone who comes in here,” he said.