WAXHAW, NC – The North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center hosted its yearly conference in Statesville on March 14-16. At a ceremony on March 15, Assistant Secretary of Rural Development Kenny Flowers and Director of the North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center Liz Parham presented awards in the categories of economic vitality, design, promotion and organization.
Mark Hernig, owner of Waxhaw’s Livery Stables, won an Economic Vitality Award for Best Adaptive Reuse for his historic renovation of the Livery Stables. The building, originally owned by Mark’s great-grandfather, was built in 1932. Mark was able to purchase the building in 2015 and restore it to its former glory, paying homage to Waxhaw’s history.
The project was a labor of love and took nearly six years to complete. Mark used original materials from the building, when possible, making sure the historical integrity was maintained. For example, the pressed-tin siding on the barn is unique. When Mark needed replacement pieces, he contacted the original siding maker out of Missouri to replicate it! One of the most notable pieces is the recreation of the horse stalls to house local crafters and makers.
The building currently houses the Mule Barn Mercantile, managed by the Union County Entrepreneurs. The shop includes pieces from local artists, locally made food and products, and locally found antiques. The space has become an essential small business incubator for makers in the Waxhaw area.
“The Livery Stables project was a catalyst for Downtown Waxhaw! Mark restored the building beautifully and provided much need commercial space for artists and makers in our area,” said Ashley Nowell, Downtown Director. “We are so excited for Mark to be recognized for all of his hard work and dedication to the project.”
The project was made possible through the support of so many in the Waxhaw community. General Contractor Chuck Winchester, Architect Tom Giblin, builder Steve Buxbaum, Frank Aikmas and Randy Adcock with American Bank of the Carolinas were instrumental in bringing the project to fruition.
On March 16, Kate Stahlman was recognized at the North Carolina Main Street Conference as Waxhaw’s Downtown Champion. North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders, Assistant Secretary of Rural Development Kenny Flowers, and Director of the North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center Liz Parham recognized 38 honorees from all over the state.
Kate has served on the Main Street Advisory Board since Sep. 2020. The program was in a rebuilding stage, and Kate was instrumental in helping rebuild the program with the new director. When Waxhaw’s Main Street Program started committees in April 2022, she joined the Design Committee and took on a leadership role on the Main Street Advisory Board. Kate is constantly looking for ways to give of her time and talents, leading the charge to design beautiful new planters in downtown and helping set up for downtown events and programs.
“Kate is an important part of our Main Street team, and we are thrilled that NC Main Street is recognizing her as our Downtown Champion,” added Nowell.
Waxhaw was recognized as a state and nationally accredited Main Street Community in 2023. The Main Street Program has three main committees – Design, Promotions, and Economic Vitality – and focuses on the preservation and promotion of Waxhaw’s historic downtown. The program is currently working on starting a 501c3 tax-exempt organization to help with promotion, fundraising and volunteer support for downtown activities.