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2022 Award of Merit: Waxhaw

Waxhaw’s Livery Stables

2022 NC Main Street Award: Economic Vitality

Best Adaptive Reuse Project

  • American Bank of the Carolinas

  • Steve Buxbaum

  • Union County Entrepreneurs

  • Town of Waxhaw

Downtown Waxhaw is well known for its restaurants and entertainment but is often not the first thought for local shopping. Waxhaw’s Main Street Program has a list of more than forty businesses that wish to locate in downtown, but there has been limited available space. That changed when Mark Hernig purchased Waxhaw’s Livery Stables in 2015. Originally built by his great grandfather, Mark worked tirelessly for six years to rehabilitate this structure that had been close to demolition. With architect and general contractor partners, his vision was brought to fruition with a $350,000 investment.

Original barn doors were used or duplicated, ADA upgrades were made, and the pressed-tin siding was repaired or replaced with like materials. Original horse stalls were converted to accommodate various antique and craft vendors. A blacksmith’s shop was added to the rear of the building.

The result is the Mule Barn Mercantile, a general store retailer managed by Union County Entrepreneurs that engages with more than sixty artists and entrepreneurs. Forty-five hundred square feet of space has been added to the original structure and five offices are located in the barn’s loft.

Mark Hernig, owner of the stables, also operates a broom making studio to show how brooms were originally made. Waxhaw’s Livery Stables have become a small business incubator for local makers who now have a place to sell their wares. The economic impact of the project includes seven new businesses and 15 employees. Most importantly, some of those 40 businesses that were waiting to locate downtown are now able to operate in an incubator setting with low overhead costs to help them grow.

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