Note: This column originally was published Sept. 25, 2014.
So I learned a cool handshake Wednesday.
After interviewing a guy who was a bit of an Asheville free spirit, I stuck my hand out for a shake and he grasped my inner forearm, essentially forcing me to do the same with him.
Now, I'm sure this is not new to the world, but it was the first time someone "shook hands" with me this way, and I found it brilliant. This way, come winter, we don't sneeze in our hands and then share nature's viral bounty with a stranger's hand, which they then wipe on their faces.
It's cool, sanitary and sensible. Let's adopt it. Plus, fist-bumps are dead.
But first, let's adopt your burning questions, then provide some smart-aleck answers and the real deal.
Question: I am sure this has been asked a gazillion times but why isn't Downtown After 5 held in the Pack Square Park area?
My answer: Actually, it's only been asked a bazillion fifteen times, so no worries.
Real answer: The Asheville Downtown Association moved the event to Lexington Avenue several years ago when the park was still under construction, and they found the Lexington location worked so well they've stayed.
Byron Greiner, issues chairman and past-president of the Downtown Association, said several factors came into play. First, Pack Square Park has a lot of "hardscape" and angular features — stone and concrete benches, walls and tiers — that make a large event like Downtown After 5 trickier to accommodate.
"The other part of it is when we moved to Lexington, the merchants embraced the event so well," Greiner said. "It helped fill their restaurants, bars and galleries with people, and it only blocks off one city block."
Held the third Friday of each month from May-September, Downtown After 5 usually draws 3,000-6,000 people for live entertainment, food and beer.
"The Lexington area creates the least amount of disruption and the most amount of commerce — it just works really well there," Greiner said. "We've made way more money and had way more attendance since we moved there."
The organization uses proceeds to fund its downtown cleanup efforts and other events such as the Christmas Parade and Easter on the Green. Those events and other family affairs do utilize Pack Square Park, Greiner noted.
Question: What is the new building in front of Ingles on Hendersonville Road in South Asheville? It looks awfully like a Red Robin.
My answer: Sorry to disappoint your need to feed your burger hole, but it also looks a lot like a phone store.
Real answer: Clint Towe, a regional manager for Verizon Cellular Sales, said the 3,000-square-foot building will be their new sales office. They're moving from their location at 1838 Hendersonville Road.
"We're excited about it," Towe said. "We've got two other stores just like it, one in Sylva and one in Franklin, and they're really nice."
The store will house eight employees, and they're hoping to be in and operating on Nov. 6, Towe said.
As far as my reader's wish for a Red Robin, Towe said they hate to disappoint.
"The one out in Franklin, everybody was asking if it was a Hooter's," he said with a laugh.
This is the opinion of John Boyle, email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Classic Answer Man: Move Downtown After 5? Red Robin coming?