HENDRICKS - The old creamery building in Hendricks is open to the air and sunlight for the first time in decades, as workmen gutted the interior, hauled away ancient trash and installed a new roof and second floor. The next step is to install the windows and doors to seal the building so work on the interior can proceed through the winter.
Work on the historic building began after the creamery was acquired by Hendricks Farmers Lumber, which formed a limited liability corporation last fall with help from the Lincoln County Enterprise Development Corporation.
"The lumberyard acquired the building from a gentleman who had it for 30 years," said Orv Johnson, lumberyard manager. "The shareholders wanted to see it preserved, wanted something done with it."
Photo by Steve Browne
Workmen at the old Hendricks Creamery building finished up the roof this week as part of the effort to get the building sealed so renovations can proceed through the winter.
What the shareholders did was form a limited liability company, Hendricks Historic Creamery LLC, with assistance from the Lincoln County Enterprise Development Corporation. The company applied for grants to renovate the building from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the federal Small Cities Development Program.
Jason Markkula, founder of Bank Brewing Company, is going to put a microbrewery in the building.
"The building was full of bats and was not going to improve on its own," Markkula said. "We're on pace to hit deadline. We've had no major stumbling blocks, so we'll keep our fingers crossed."
Bank Brewing Company brews four brands of beer. Profits from two of the brands, Walleye Chop and Rooster Lager, are donated to Pheasants Forever to buy land for wildlife areas.
Markkula and Johnson have already been involved in two restoration projects of classic brick buildings in Hendricks.
Johnson bought a bank building on Main Street from the city for $1 and renovated it. The building is now an exercise studio.
In 2009, Markkula turned another bank building across the street into a hunting lodge.
Local businesswoman Julie Buchholz owns Irene's by Julie Cafe just up the street from the creamery building.
"This town has never been much for tearing buildings down," Buchholz said. "That building would have cost as much to tear down as fix it. It'll probably bring a little more influx of money into town because they'll employ people."