DUVALL–That neon you’ve been seeing these past few months in the windows of that building on the north end of Main Street that’s up for sale, that’s no mirage. It’s the signs of the Duvall Tavern, and a sign that the owners, Gregg and Sheila Acheson, are still very much a part of the community.
It was at the request of the community, in fact, that the couple re-opened the business this summer.
Sheila explains that the couple made the “heart-wrenching” decision to close the tavern, which Gregg had owned and operated for 10 years, in February, and then took a well-earned vacation, but “…when it got closer to June, people would stop us on the street and they wanted to know if we were going to open for Duvall Days.”
Every year during the city’s festival, the tavern hosted a special event, and after the couple discussed it, they decided “well, yeah, we can do Duvall Days again,” Sheila recalled, “… and it was a fantastic success!”
Of course, the next question was “Why don’t we just open on the weekends?” Sheila said.
Just over a month later, the Achesons restarted their vendor contracts and went back into business, to the delight of their regulars, as well as some new customers. “The community seemed to want us back,” Sheila said, happily.
There were a few changes, though, to simplify. Gregg and Sheila decided not to hire any staff members, but to do all the work themselves – which makes for a full work week in only three days, Sheila said. Also, they decided to keep the kitchen closed.
That was a tough decision, since the food – especially the house-made pizzas – was one of the highlights of the Duvall Tavern when Gregg and Sheila finished renovating it last year. Instead of offering their own food, though, “What we’re doing is promoting other businesses in town,” Sheila said.
Before they re-opened in July, Sheila said they approached local restaurants to arrange for discounts and deliveries. Patrons can now order food from Armadillo Barbecue, Pho Saigon and Sahara Pizza, and have it delivered to the bar, says Sheila. It’s an agreement that benefits everyone.
“After going through the (Main Street) construction project and everything, I think it’s so important to support the local businesses,” Sheila said.
Duvall’s 10-month long Main Street reconstruction project, although it was one reason the couple decided to renovate the tavern last year, was also one of the biggest reasons for their decision to close the business and put it up for sale.
And it’s still for sale. While the Achesons are happy to run the business on weekends for now, they are really hoping that whoever buys it will not just keep the local watering-hole atmosphere alive, but also grow it into a gathering place for even more of the community.
They include themselves in that community, too. Sheila says, “It’s time to have a change of scenery, and come into the tavern as a customer – on the other side of the bar, where we can sit and talk about back in the day…”
The Duvall Tavern is open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon to about 7 p.m. on Sundays. They have karaoke and bands almost every Saturday evening, and are planning a big Halloween party and costume contest on Saturday, Oct. 31.