Downtown Statesboro went through a mini retail "boom" a couple of years ago, but things have been relatively quiet the last several months. That is, until today.
The Yard and Haus guys are unveiling their new store Tuesday in the former location of Alicia Bea's on East Main Street. Located directly across the street from Doodle Bugs Stationary, Invitations and Gifts and only one building down from its original location, the new Yard and Haus can be described in two words – absolutely fabulous.
Store owners Bob Williamson and Todd Branyon are artists in the truest sense of the word. They took the "bones" of the building that had been Alicia Bea's and transformed it into their own vision which is very clean, upscale, and visually stunning.
I followed them through the renovation project, and many times we would walk around the gutted building as they described what they were going to do and what the finished product would look like.
More than once, I left without a clue. I am always amazed when people are able to visualize a finished construction project as they stand among the rubble. And let me tell you, it looks just like they said it would.
It seems like yesterday that Branyon and Williamson opened Yard and Haus next to City Hall, but the opening of the new store is going to coincide with the business's second anniversary.
"This whole renovation has been an unfolding process," Branyon said. "For instance, we removed the drop ceiling that had been put in here and found the original tin ceiling. We thought it was just wonderful, so we left it."
The two have done extensive research on the building as well. "We found that this building was constructed some time in the early 1900's," Branyon said. "There is conflicting information about an exact year, but we do know it was a Studebaker dealership."
Branyon said everything part of the building's renovation was done with preservation in mind.
"We are very, very proud to have taken an older downtown building and be innovative without losing the original character of the building," he said. "We are so glad to be a part of the downtown business community. This is exactly where we want to be."
Yard and Haus will hold an open house this Friday to coincide with downtown's monthly First Friday celebration. Branyon said the store's window Friday unveiling is set for 7 p.m., and he hopes everyone will come down and celebrate with them.