Boondocks Brewing buys Geno’s

By James Howell (

Article Published: Apr. 24 | Modified: Apr. 24
Boondocks Brewing buys Geno’s

Before being seated to a meal or visiting the bar, patrons of Boondocks may be greeted by, from left, hostess Michaela McElhaney, service manager Amanda Pettersen or general manager Jared Yelton.

Photo by James Howell

In order to expand his West Jefferson business, Boondocks Brewing Tap Room owner Gary Brown plans to purchase Geno’s Restaurant by the end of April and to turn that building into a brewery.

Since opening Boondocks at 108 S. Jefferson Ave. in downtown West Jefferson in August 2012, Brown said he had noticed the need for more room moving forward.

“It did not take long before we realized that we were going to need more space to achieve some of our long-term goals,” Brown said in a news release. “We have doubled our brewing capacity to keep up with demand, but without a lot more space and a larger system, we will not be able to increase capacity again.”

According to Brown, Boondocks can seat nearly 200 guests at a time, but with Boondock’s frequently hosting special events, banquets and parties, the restaurant and tap room have been forced to turn customers away on some occasions.

The renovation of Geno’s, located at 302 S. Jefferson Ave., is planned to begin this summer, and if all goes according to Brown’s plans, the new Boondocks Brewing Brew Haus will open sometime this fall. The Brew Haus will not compete directly with Boondocks as a restaurant; rather, it will serve as an extension of Boondocks’ brewery and will host special events.

According to Cabot Hamilton, executive director of the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce, the new Boondocks Brew Haus could become a staple of West Jefferson.

“This is great news for Gary and Boondocks and for the town of West Jefferson,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton also said the expansion will mean new employees, and that it’s exciting when that type of business grows, because it can offer more services to the community.

The addition of a new brewery in West Jefferson means the town must say goodbye to a well-established restaurant in Geno’s.

“The past several years have been challenging,” said Geno’s co-owners Ronnie and Janet Waln and Michael and Terry Hodges. “We have been working hard to revitalize the business, but we feel that its best days are behind it now.”

The owners said that they concluded that selling Geno’s would be the right course of action back in 2012, provided they found the right buyer.

“We did not want to sell for the sake of selling, and we wanted to make sure that when we did, it would be a good deal for us, our employees and the town,” the owners said in a news release.
The owners began talking with Brown in March about the potential sale, and they said they found that “good deal.”

“We would like to thank our loyal customers and friends that have been coming to Geno’s faithfully over all these years,” the owners said in a statement. “We will miss you and thank you for your support. Gary (Brown) has assured us that you will be well taken care of at Boondocks with the same dedication and commitment. It is bittersweet to reach this point, but we are excited to see what Gary and the Boondocks team will do, and some of us will be seeing you at Boondocks. God bless you all.”

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