The Northwest Trading Post, a Blue Ridge Parkway institution for 54 years, will likely re-open this year after months of uncertainty about the tourist attraction’s future.
“We’ve got a bid and we are confident it will open in the spring,” said Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Phil Francis.
The Trading Post’s previous contract expired in December, Francis said, and the concessioner did not bid on a new contract for 2103. The non-profit board which operates the store had received no new bids until this week.
A non-profit concession for the National Parks Service, the Trading Post had accumulated significant interest on a loan for improvements made to the property, making the Trading Post unattractive to bidders. According to Francis, the debt service on the construction loan, which totaled between $400,000 and $500,000, was the the main deterrent for bidders.
The Blue Ridge Parkway raised enough money to pay off the Trading Post’s debt, he said, making the Trading Post a more attractive opportunity for entrepreneurs.
An official announcement will be made when a new contract is signed, he said.
“We feel good,” said Francis. “We understand the importance of the Trading Post to the Parkway and the community, and want to see that continue.”