What's Next for Old Lex?

When we bought the property at 113 West Nelson Street in 2013 and opened Old Lex Mercantile, we had one simple goal in mind: to help revitalize a tired block of downtown Lexington. At that time, we were deeply involved in the grass-roots effort to establish the Main Street Lexington non-profit organization and, with four empty storefronts between The Palms and Blue Sky, we saw our investment as another opportunity to contribute to the vibrancy of the downtown community. Here's the view that inspired us then:

Little did we know our initial plan to sell Italian olive oil and balsamic vinegar would evolve into a full-blown gourmet market and commercial kitchen. Little did we know we would meet so many wonderful people and make so many new friends along the way. And here we are today...

Time and time again, we are gratified when we hear words like these from our customers: “Thank you for being here. We don’t know what we would do without you.” We are humbled when we meet customers who are traveling from larger metro areas like Roanoke and Richmond to buy our prepared foods because they prefer what we sell to anything they can find locally. And we are astonished when customers from major metro areas, like New York City, rave about the selection of offerings in our little gourmet market.

None of this would have happened without the enthusiastic support of our fabulous customers and the best team of sales associates and kitchen staff to be found in all of Lexington. Now, as we look up and down West Nelson Street, we can honestly say we accomplished our initial goal to help revitalize a tired block in downtown.

But this is just the first step, a very happy conclusion to "Phase One." We have established a vibrant, growing business that clearly makes a meaningful difference in the lives of many people every day. It’s a place that matters. So now we have a new goal: to ensure Old Lex Mercantile, a market that delights so many, endures long beyond our capacity to run it.

Why, you may ask, are we thinking about this now? Though we retired from our corporate jobs some years ago, we continue to have an active management consulting practice. This, along with our day-to-day Old Lex Mercantile responsibilities, keeps us quite busy. Having spent over 85 combined years in the working world, we’re finally ready to put the wheels in motion for our retirement. In doing so, our top priority now is to find the right one(s) to build on our momentum and lead this enterprise forward when we step away. This is the natural cycle of any healthy business.

So we are launching the search for our successor…someone to take the reins of ownership and continue to build what we have begun. We know this type of search and transition may take a very long time, so we need to begin work on our exit strategy now. Our goal in sharing this news with you is to enlist your help. Please think about your circle of friends and family. Do you know someone who has made (or would love to make) Lexington their home…and has the desire to delight others with the joy of great food and drink…and may be seeking a highly-gratifying career opportunity...and has the acumen and desire for business ownership?

If you do, please send them our way! We would love to engage in conversation, share more information, and explore the possibilities. Over the past eight plus years, we have built something very special for our customers, our employees, and our community. With your help, we are confident we will find just the right one(s) to take over what we have begun and make Old Lex Mercantile better than ever!

With gratitude,

Lai and Betsy