Former Bernhardt Hardware property sold for $200,000

This is the back of the Bernhardt Hardware property from a city parking lot. It’s evident how three separate buildings were meshed to create the long-running hardware business.
This is the back of the Bernhardt Hardware property from a city parking lot. It’s evident how three separate buildings were meshed to create the long-running hardware business.

SALISBURY— The former Bernhardt Hardware property has been sold.

Calm Holdings, a new partnership formed by Chad Vriesema and Bryan Wymbs, purchased the expansive hardware building at 111-115 N. Main St. for $200,000.

Vriesema is owner of Central Piedmont Builders Inc., the contractor for several other restoration projects in the downtown including Pottery 101, Critters and Go Burrito.

Vriesema said he and Wymbs expect to invest $400,000 to $600,000 in the Bernhardt building and make it a mix of apartments or condominiums on the second story and retail on the bottom floors.

The hardware property, which over the years combined three separate buildings into one, will be returned to three buildings, Vriesema said.

Vriesema said he and Wymbs hope to incorporate the Bernhardt name in the redevelopment because of its important historic connection to the property. Central Piedmont Builders has been established in Salisbury since 2000.

There are no prospective tenants as of now. Vriesema said he will be meeting with an architect in coming months but doesn’t expect renovations to begin until this fall or the coming winter.

The buildings cover 16,000 square feet, and Vriesema envisions six units of roughly 2,500 square feet covering both floors.

Greg Rapp, the Realtor who worked on the sale, said the end result “will be awesome for Salisbury.”

Rapp sees the downtown as still having the potential for scores of more residents in its older storefront buildings, and he and Vriesema predicted good things to come for the downtown.

Bernhardt Hardware was, of course, associated with the late Paul Bernhardt, known as a good-hearted retailer, promoter, artist and craftsman. He built delightful Christmas decorations for his store and loved history, conversation and politics.

He was mayor of Salisbury from 1967-71 and a City Council member for 12 years overall. He served on many merchant and community boards, including a chairmanship with the Rowan Vocational Workshop.

Greer Hardware started in this location in 1928. (The building dates back to circa 1882.) Leake Bernhardt, Paul’s father, served as store manager. Paul joined the store as assistant manager in 1946 after his service with the Army Air Corps in World War II.

When Greer Hardware liquidated the store in 1961, Bernhardt Hardware took its place. Eva Bingham, Paul’s daughter, put the property up for sale after her father’s death in April 2012.

The store had a going-out-of-business sale and closed last summer.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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