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Curtain call for Charlottesville's Spice Diva

The Spice Diva spice shop, a mainstay of Charlottesville’s Main Street Market for 11 years, will be closing its doors on Feb. 28.

While the pandemic played a part in that decision, owner Phyllis Hunter said after more than a decade in operation and more than seven decades of life, it was time to take a step back.

“We’re just going to move on,” Hunter told The Daily Progress on Monday. “I’m 73, and I’m going to help my husband with his bankruptcy practice.”

Hunter said her husband had been instrumental in helping run the business.

The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to Hunter’s decision to close the business.

Previously, Spice Diva would host cooking classes and other events, but the pandemic – with its mandated lockdowns and social-distancing measures which spelled doom for many in the retail industry – brought an end to that.

“It’s been great, but I can’t really do the business to the extent that I was doing it before the pandemic,” Hunter said.

After 11 years of running the shop, Hunter said it was time for her to take a step back.

“I’m not going to be one of those people who hangs on when they should stop,” Hunter said.

Still, she expressed her gratitude for her customers.

“I love my customers, and I’ve enjoyed it so much,” she said.

Hunter hasn’t sold Spice Diva, which she said had been on the market for three years. She declined to provide a sales price.

“That’s subject to negotiation,” Hunter said.

Spice Diva’s neighbor at Main Street Market, gourmet grocer Feast, sold last month for an undisclosed price.

The new owners, who also own Merrie Mill Farm and Vineyard in Keswick, have said they plan to retain the current staff at Feast while also “integrating new technology, products, and dedication to the staff.”


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