The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 18

ABOVE:
Valerie Brown, left, and
Jim Cherney, right, have
big plans for the old
Happy's Flea Market
space.

18

JULY/AUGUST 2020

Cherney's Fort Knox Drive-Thru Self-Storage
will soon be a thing and it will, in fact, even
expand by 10,000 square feet under roof. That
will become retail space, preferably for the
international business community which is rebranding Williamson Road these days, says
Cherney. Small business spaces will begin at
400 square feet. The foundation, though, will
be self-storage, where the client can drive up
to the inside door of rented space, beginning
at 10-feet-by-10-feet for $100 a month and
growing larger, depending on demand.
There are plans for a splashy opening in late
summer and even for a couple of drive-in movie
showings in the fall, working with the Grandin
Theatre, Downtown Roanoke Inc., Wheeler
Media and the Williamson Road Area Business
Association (WRABA). Most of this, Cherney
believes, will be accomplished even with the
hovering COVID-19.
Cherney is a Winston-Salem native who
has been developing in Roanoke-as Cherney
Development Company-for about 30 years.
He is married to Wallace360 marketing agency
owner Katie Wallace. His varied background
includes work at the New York Stock Exchange

and in the pizza business, where he had 172
delivery operations. But it is re-development
that has his passion. " I like to re-purpose nonconforming assets, " he says.
The re-purposing at Happy's will include
a little social engineering, bringing in those
international businesses to a genuine welcome
and perhaps even helping to create some startups. He also plans to develop the front parking
lot with out-parcels for established businesses.
The enterprise should be open by mid- to
late-September, Cherney says. The four acres
behind the Happy 's building offers some
interesting opportunities, including " a small
version of Happy's Flea Market, " says Cherney,
and a drive-in movie with " a pop-up screen " and
sound provided by Wheeler Media over one of
its channels.
" We'd bill it as 'Happy Days Are Here
Again,' " says Valerie Brown, executive director
of WRABA, who is working with Cherney on
promotions. " When Fort Knox opens, we're going
to have a Williamson Road welcome. "
As for Cherney, " I want to leave an indelible fingerprint on this part of Williamson Road. "
				-DAN SMITH

TheRoanoker.com

DAN SMITH

the gist


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The Roanoker - July/August 2020

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