Popular bakery and cafe Nona’s Sweets is leaving its location on J.W. Clay Boulevard to make room for the Lynx Blue Line Extension and will relocate to a spot near West W.T. Harris Boulevard and Research Drive.
Once thrilled with being at a prime location near UNC Charlotte, owner Dominica Clementi said she, her family and staff are now finding reasons to be happy about relocating to Worthington Luxury Shoppes and Apartments.
“We’re really excited about it; there’s a really good traffic flow in and around the center, and of course, the Worthington Luxury Apartments will bring us a lot of foot traffic,” Clementi said.
She said she expects to vacate from the J.W. Clay location by Jan. 31 and have a grand opening for the bakery and cafe around Valentine’s Day.
Finding a different shopping center in University City was difficult because many already have stores that include bakeries, and they often have contracts that keep competing bakeries from locating in the same center.
“The process of moving is hugely inconvenient, but I am really, really hopeful and looking forward to what this new place will be like and how it will develop,” said Nona’s Manager Caroline Lublinkhof. “We’re all excited.”
But the move won’t be all sunshine and daisies for Nona’s, which has been at its current location since 2008.
Clementi said the unexpected move is costing the bakery hundreds of thousands of dollars, both in investments it made in renovations at J.W. Clay and in revenue lost while the bakery is closed.
But to soften that blow, Clementi said, Nona’s will continue to take orders for custom and wedding cakes when the store is temporarily closed, but she declined to disclose where the baking would take place.
“We’ll make it happen one way or another,” she said. “The website will be up and operational; emails will still be answered. The phone number is scheduled to just roll over, so we’ll still be having communication through that.”
Last January, the Metropolitan Transit Commission approved plans to shorten the Blue Line Extension for financial reasons, said Charlotte Area Transit System Spokeswoman Azania Herron. That changed the plans to include the construction of a parking deck where Nona’s Sweets, a Papa John’s, Honey Baked Ham and Panda Express stand.
Jennifer Pasquale, a Worthington property manager, said she is excited to have Nona’s as a tenant.
“Nona’s is a staple here in the University area,” Pasquale said. “Everyone knows them – they’re the best bakery around.”
She said the new bakery location will take three spaces and be close to 8,000 square feet. “It’s going to be really big,” she said.
Nona’s Sweets will be neighbors with Tony’s Pizza and Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, as well as hair and nail salons and a car care center. The shopping center is in the University Research Park area.
“There’s always a little drudgery in having to move and change and unpack, so I’m not looking forward to that,” Clementi said, “but ultimately, I think it will be a good move for us.”