SML Center no longer destined for former Grand Home Furnishings building

The dormer Grand Home Furnishings outlet has 40,000 square feet of usable space.
The dormer Grand Home Furnishings outlet has 40,000 square feet of usable space.(WDBJ7)
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 2:43 PM EDT
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HARDY, Va. (WDBJ/SML Center Inc. Release) - Smith Mountain Lake Center, Inc. will not be located in the former Grand Home Furnishings building along Route 122 in Franklin County, after raising money to make that dream a reality.

The center, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to bringing a multi-purpose venue to the region for education, events and entertainment,” had wanted to turn the long-vacant building into a multi-use facility with meeting space, a theater, an area for children’s activities and more.

“Just a week after releasing interior renderings of how we would have renovated and used the space, we were informed the building has been sold,” said Vicki Gardner, president of the SML Center’s Board of Directors.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed but we always knew this was a possibility because the building was being actively marketed,” she said. “We had made great strides but just weren’t able to raise the funds quickly enough to purchase it.”

Gardner said she has spoken to the new owner of the 40,000-square-foot building, who confirmed it will become the third location for Rock Outdoors. The North Carolina-based sporting goods retailer sells apparel and gear for fishing, camping, hiking, paddle sports, water sports and other outdoor recreation.

“Our board is pleased that it’s a great fit for the Smith Mountain Lake community,” said Gardner, the former executive director of the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We’re all committed to enhancing the quality of life for our residents and visitors here.”

Gardner said the 12-member board will meet in the upcoming months to regroup and explore ways the project can move forward. She said people who made contributions for the express purpose of purchasing the Grand building can opt to have their donation refunded.

“We’ll be reaching out to each and every person who donated to our ‘Grand Plan’ campaign to thank them and explain the process for returning their contribution if that is their wish,” she said.