Repair despair: Ivy’s Toddsbury closes after 25 years

Ivy residents will lose the convenience—and community—of Toddsbury when it closes October 11. (Staff Photo) Ivy residents will lose the convenience—and community—of Toddsbury when it closes October 11. (Staff Photo)

Two days before the October 11 closing of Toddsbury of Ivy, a beloved convenience store in the heart of the small western Albemarle community, its parking lot was paved. That’s something the store’s owner says he’s been asking the landlord to do for over a year, and maintenance was a factor in Bruce Kirtley’s decision to close shop.

“It’s been 25 years and I’m 65 years old,” says Kirtley. “It’s time to move on.”

The property is owned by Phil Dulaney, whose sizable land holdings include a once-thriving tourist center with a Holiday Inn and Howard Johnson at the intersection of the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah national parks; Charlottesville Oil across from the Boar’s Head Inn on Ivy Road, where, according to multiple sources, the roof leaks so badly that employees move desks when it rains; and Swannanoa palace, a historic landmark that has been used to store construction debris from other Dulaney properties.

In a 2015 story, “The ruins of Afton Mountain: Eyesores along a scenic byway,” C-VILLE estimated his commercial real estate, most of it in prime locations, was worth at least $30 million. Dulaney did not return a phone message left at Charlottesville Oil.

“I did 90 to 95 percent of repairs over 25 years,” says Kirtley, who says he tried for the past 15 years to buy the property from Dulaney. “If I owned it, it would look a lot different. You can’t keep putting your own money into property you don’t own.”

Ivy residents are mourning the loss of Toddsbury, where they could pop in to buy a decent bottle of wine, coffee, or homemade chicken pot pie from its deli. “Construction guys are here in the morning, doctors and lawyers going home stop in the evening,” says Kirtley.

“You’re closing? That stinks,” says Jeff Shooter, who was in the store October 5. “Where will I stop for my beer?”

“This is like a living room for the neighborhood,” says Stuart Opler, one of Toddsbury’s six employees—two full time, four part time—who will be out of a job.

Former Albemarle supervisor Sally Thomas, who used to live in nearby West Leigh, says the store has a long and complex history that includes a murder before Kirtley leased the property. She writes on Facebook, “[T]he main loss will be the amazing community center that the Kirtleys created with generosity and empathy. This is not ‘just’ a store. It’s an institution.”

One of the property’s ongoing issues is its septic system, which “is probably older than you and me,” says Kirtley. A new septic tank would cost $9,000, but Kirtley believes that would only be a temporary fix. The site is hampered by a creek, and it could cost as much as $60,000 to tap into the county’s sewer line, although he says he’s been told it can be done for $39,000.

“If I owned it, I’d fix it,” says Kirtley. “That’s what rational people do. His properties speak for themselves.”

He calls Dulaney “an honorable man,” but as a landlord, he’s been “unconventional.” Says Kirtley, “His actions—or lack of action—makes this the best decision for me.”

Posted In:     News

Tags:     , , , ,

Previous Post

Yay or neigh?: Mural stirs controversy

Next Post

Flipping the script: Behind bars, finding freedom in feminism



Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to editor@c-ville.com.

2
Leave a Reply

avatar
2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
2 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
matityahureally? Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
really?
Guest
really?

Good Riddance! I can only imagine the size of the rats they will find in that place when it gets demolished. The county will approve a new target store to go in there probably.

matityahu
Guest
matityahu

Too bad. And, nothing worse than a lax landlord in any scenario. That store meets a major need per its optimal location. Now all the area folks will have to burn time and gas going to Bellair market or in the other direction Harris&Teeter.