I have to admit I am a little sad that Alicia Bea's is gone. I, like many downtown development watchers, celebrated Alicia and Noel Burnsed's successful renovation of two buildings, the acquisition and use of another, and the revitalization of a downtown restaurant.
As disappointed as I am that an era of sorts has ended, I am very glad to report that two up and coming entrepreneurs have bought the building that housed Alicia Bea's on South Main Street. Todd Branyon and Bob Williamson, owners of Yard and Haus on South Main, recently purchased Alicia Burnsed's building and intend on moving their store into it next March.
"We opened our business about a year ago and sales have been very good," Branyon said. "We felt like at this point the business was a 'go', and we were comfortable making an investment in future."
Branyon said he and Williamson are committed to downtown and the feel of community that it provides.
"We feel so strongly about being downtown, because to be honest, I don't know that our business would do as well as it has anywhere else," he said. "It just fits here. It belongs here."
Branyon said their commitment will be reflected in the renovation work that is done on their new location.
"We really hope to create a store that will attract other businesses to downtown," he said. "I hope that people will see the new Yard and Haus and say 'I want to bring my business here'."
Branyon and Williamson plan to upgrade the front of the building with paint, new lighting fixtures, and an awning. In addition, Branyon said there will be some renovation to the inside as well.
"We have approximately 9,000 square feet of usable space in the building," he said. "It is our plan right now to use 6,000 of them. How we end up splitting it up, I am not entirely sure."
Branyon said the new building will allow them to actually have two sections of the store, a yard section and a "haus" section.
"That has been our dream all along to create a seamless transition from your house into your yard," he said. "Both should be wonderful living spaces. We will have enough room to do that now."