by Dan McClelland
The town and village planning board last month unanimously approved a new joint retail and service business venture at 115 Park Street that is one of several new arrivals in the uptown business district that is expected to breath new life in the place.
Only volunteer Scott Snyder was absent from the seven-member board's deliberations that evening and there was only one thing on the agenda.
Representing the business owners again that evening was Andrew McClelland, who with his wife, Faith and brother-in-law Pat Bedore formed the new limited liability corporation Chum House, LLC, which purchased the former Newberry building from Joy and Vin Moody last fall.
Faith and Andrew's Spruce and Hemlock, which they started about four years ago at 52 Lake Street, will occupy the left hand side of the large two story building. In past weeks both sides of the building have been extensively rewired, with the addition of a third service entrance.
Half of the left hand side of the building had the original hardwood flooring. Brandon Moeller of BTM Flooring resanded that half and restained it a dark mahogany stain to match new hardwood flooring he will install in the back half of the large front room, which in recent years was the fitness center.
Beyond that 2,700 square foot space, there is another 700 square foot room, where the new owners hope in several years to add a mini-cafe and bakery.
The decorative tin ceiling has been scraped and repainted and all of the chandeliers replaced. There will be new wall sconces every 12 feet or so.
More insulation was added to the 12 foot high interior walls on the perimeter of the entire building.
On the Spruce and Hemlock side, new drywall was installed by Pete Desmarais and his son earlier this winter.
On the right hand side of the building next to One Group, many of the acoustic suspended ceiling tiles were replaced and more ceiling insulation was added by Andrew and Pat.
New drywall was also applied to all interior walls, after they were firred out to permit the addition of more insulation by the owners.
The Stacked Graphics partners will do their screen printing, embroidery and sign-making from the 2,000 square foot first floor, and expect to eventually expand production in the 4,000 square foot basement, which was high enough to use for retail sales when Newberry's was there the 1940s through 1970s.
On the second floor of the building is one occupied 1,200 square foot apartment.
The front apartment was gutted by previous owners, but boasts the large double-hung windows on the front of the building which offer a complete overview of the business district.
The building owners hope to renovate that large three-bedroom apartment in the next year or so.
A preliminary meeting by the board a month or so which began the special use permit process drew no comments from the general public in the days since, Planner Paul O'Leary reported to his board that evening.
Free Press Publisher Dan McClelland noted that in an editorial several weeks he praised the coming changes, including this new joint venture, to the Park St. business district and asked if that piece could be included in the minutes of the meeting. His request was granted.
Village Code Enforcement Officer Peter Edwards, who attends all planning board meetings on behalf of the village, said it was good to see new “young owners taking these buildings” and putting them back in local service.
He said Mr. and Mrs. McClelland and Mr. Bedore have a grant dream and are “doing this right, taking these building which have been let go or neglected in recent years.
He said it is apparent to many that many buildings are undergoing restorations “and it's good to see that.”
Mr. Edwards said the owners of the two businesses going in there have “great business plans.”
With that the public hearing was closed by Chairman Shawn Stuart and the regular part of the meeting was opened.
Volunteer Jim Merrihew began the discussion. Last month he had asked the owners to provide for that night's meeting a front view of the building, along with the signs planned there.
Mr. McClelland provided the board with those color renderings, showing the existing facade, which was redone in rough cedar and cedar shake overhang in recent years.
He said their drawings of the new signs that evening would be close in nature to the actual once they will construct in their sign shop once winter breaks.
The Stacked Graphics sign will be made of cedar with raised letter in a metal frame, he told the planners.
The Spruce and Hemlock sign next door will be a custom-cut shape, sporting the business' logo. Both signs, he said, would be above the respective doorways and be about 10 feet long and three feet high.
The Stacked Graphics sign will look like old wood, whereas the Spruce and Hemlock sign will be brighter and cleaner, he told them.
“We were going to make them look similar, but then we didn't want people to confuse the two, as they separate businesses.”
The lighting of the signs and the storefront will be overhead sconces- gooseneck in appearance and shedding the light downward, in keeping with the community's dark skies lighting requirements.
He said the lights will be similar in design to those at Well Dressed Food down the street.
The door on the Stacked Graphics side of the building will lead into the company's front office, where their clients can place orders or pick up shipments.
Behind the two storefront windows, they plan to hang curtains to block the public's view of their printing and embroidery operations in the back.
“We want to keep it so if you look in from the street or the highway, you won't see all of our machines.”
The partners, with the help of a machine from Kentile Excavating, moved those large and heavy production machines from the Free Press rooms to their new quarters in the past two weeks. The machines have been serviced by company representatives in the past week and are now in full operation at 115 Park Street.
He said the front windows will be decorated in keeping with the changing seasons. Andrew thought his wife would lend her decorating talent to that effort and perhaps even use some of the space to promote her wares next door.
“We're not opposed to possibly renting that storefront area some day,” as we move some of our operations to the basement area.
That depends too on insulating and putting more heat in the underground quarters, he added.
That would free up space in the front of the building on the main floor, according to the entrepreneur.
“At the moment, however, we need all that main floor space until we can take over some of that basement area.”
This summer the building owners will be replacing the flat roofs on the two-part building with modern roofing materials and pointing up some of the exterior masonry brick which needs work.
The partners will also looking at quotes this year to install a cornice around the top of the building, similar to the work done around the top of the former Ginsberg's building this fall, Mr. McClelland noted.
“We want to preserve the building and part of that involves stopping water from getting behind the brick facade.”
The planning board members had nothing but positive comments to share with Andrew that evening.
Volunteer Doug Bencze, for example, called it “a good project.”
Jan Yaworski wondered when the businesses would be open and was told they are currently printing now at the new Stacked Graphics location.
Once the new floor at Stacked Graphics is done early this month, Faith will begin moving in her inventory and new displays in time for a late-April or May 1 opening there, Andrew said.
“I'm glad we have another storefront that will provide two new businesses,” said Dave St. Onge. “That's great for the community and our main street!”
Of the three business people, he said it was good to see these young entrepreneurs in Tupper Lake.
Tom Maroun and Chairman Stuart both called them “good projects” that will be good for the community.
“It will be great to see the greater foot traffic” in the uptown business district that Spruce and Hemlock is bound to create, Mr. Stuart added.
Andrew said his wife is excited to see how much their new location will boost sales at her already popular business. He admitted it was always a challenge to direct people to their former location on Lake Street.
Mr. St. Onge said the visitors who come to Park Street to dine may also become the patrons of the new stores coming to the business district.
“Right now when we are in there working, even in the off-season, we see people wandering about, looking in store windows,” Mr. McClelland told the planners. “After they eat, there's not much else for them to do right now and so they leave.”
He said the arrival of The Adirondack Store, Birch Boys and The Row will be good for everyone in retailing on Park Street.
The planners wished Mr. McClelland and his partners good luck on their new ventures.