Carytown Tobacco — a growing chain with 10 vape and tobacco stores in Richmond, Charlottesville, Mechanicsville and Farmville — plans to extend its presence in Charlottesville. The store will replace cold-pressed juice shop The Juice Laundry on the Corner.
The news comes after a succession of long-standing businesses permanently closed on the Corner and were subsequently replaced with a slew of new businesses.
Little John’s, The College Inn and Sheetz are among the recently-closed restaurants. Little John’s served customers on the Corner for over 40 years before closing its doors, and The College Inn — which was established in 1953 — was an equally iconic Corner spot. While the former location of Sheetz remains vacant, The College Inn has since been replaced with Chipotle, and Little John’s was replaced with Sammy’s on the Corner — which also then permanently closed.
Second-year College student Kiersten Freeman said she was disappointed to see the loss of so many restaurants on the Corner and disliked that they were being so rapidly replaced.
“I preferred that they retain some of the classic shops because even though I have only experienced the Corner for just my first year, I've enjoyed what it has to offer,” Freeman said. “I really felt like those businesses added something to the U.Va. community.”
The large amount of business turnover on the Corner in recent years has mostly been attributed to the pandemic, whose economic consequences are still hurting local businesses today. Property leases in Charlottesville have also increased steadily over the past couple of years, leaving many businesses priced out of the Charlottesville market.
Given her fondness of the Corner and its local businesses, Freeman wasn’t happy about the opening of Carytown Tobacco, citing concerns that it wasn’t a proper replacement for health-centric The Juice Laundry. She worries it will send the wrong message to students as well as the larger Charlottesville community.
“I just hate how they decide to replace a business that promotes health and well-being with a business that really doesn't and that sells products that are detrimental to people's health,” Freeman said. “I don't really agree with that decision.”
According to its website, Carytown Tobacco sells glass pipes, vapes, hookah pipes, tobacco and more. The company prides itself on its selection of “inventory from top brands, vendors and manufacturers” as well as its “reasonable prices.”
Still, Freeman acknowledged that the store will likely have a sizable audience at the University, especially with increasing rates of nicotine use among college-age young adults.
Second-year College student Samantha Kemp believes the vape store will be popular with students, and that the store’s opening will be largely well-received.
“I feel like the student body in general will all have a similar attitude towards the opening of this vape shop,” Kemp said. “I don't think that it will necessarily be a bad reaction. Because kids are young and they do activities like that.”
The managers of the upcoming Charlottesville location could not provide a timeline of the new store’s opening, and were “unable to meet or give any input at this moment” when reached for comment.