Business hub

BEVERLY-Some small businesses are finding homes and making improvements along Fifth Street (Ohio 60) in the village of Beverly.

Lisa Huck, 42, of Waterford opened Lisa’s Sweet Stop a month ago at 212 Fifth St., and business has been booming ever since for the bakery and its homemade pies, gourmet cupcakes and brownies, cookies and pastries. The shop also features a special blend coffee and encourages customers to stop by for a cup and a sweet treat.

“I had my own cottage business at home for three years. I baked at home, then sold the baked goods at the (River City) Farmers Market-we’re still there on Saturdays,” she said. “But we outgrew the home business and decided to just go for it and open a bakery here in Beverly.”

Huck and her husband, Mark, a contractor, remodeled a small building on Fifth Street into a bake shop, complete with a fully-equipped bakery in back.

“This used to be a pharmacy, but the building had sat empty-used for storage for years and years before we moved in,” she said. “We re-did the whole building front to back.”

Huck said some older members of the community remember the pharmacy as well as a five-and-dime store that once occupied the building.

The Sweet Stop-the only bakery of its kind in the Beverly area-now employs six people and is open 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. The shop is closed Sundays and Mondays.

“It’s been a great thing for us-we’ve had a lot of support and wanted to do something to benefit the community,” Huck said. “Everybody was excited to see another business open up on Beverly’s main street.”

Next door, at 214 Fifth St., local businessmen Larry Matthews and Charlie Schilling have joined forces to remodel a four-story, 9,600-square-foot building with two large storefront windows into a multi-purpose facility.

“It’s an old store building that was a pillow factory at one time and also once housed a used furniture business and delicatessen,” said Schilling, 38. “We’ve remodeled the interior with apartments and office space upstairs, a large commercial space for lease next door at 214 1/2, and climate-controlled storage spaces on the basement floor.”

Matthews, 61, said more apartment space will also eventually be added to the upper levels of the building.

“We want to maximize use of all the space within this building,” he said. “And once we get the outside of the building renovated it will really make this area of Beverly stand out.”

Matthews said he and Schilling, longtime neighbors, started talking about the possibility of rehabbing the four-story structure last year. They eventually partnered to form a new business venture, Matthews and Schilling Commercial, LLC, and have established an office on the remodeled first floor of 214 Fifth St.

Both men also operate separate businesses. Schilling owns and operates KBI Real Estate, and Matthews is a partner with David Stephens in Stephens and Matthews Marketing, an insurance marketing firm.

Schilling said from the beginning he and Matthews wanted to develop a facility in the local community.

“We were thinking of Beverly first,” he said. “And we’re banking on small businesses attracting more small business to this community.”

Matthews and Schilling also own other properties in the Mid-Ohio Valley area, including 270 storage units located in both West Virginia and southeast Ohio.

Schilling said they’ve already had several inquiries about the commercial space at 214 1/2 Fifth St. and the apartment on the second floor at 214 Fifth is rented out.

“We haven’t finished out the large commercial space as we’re waiting to see what the tenant who eventually locates there wants that area to look like,” he said. “We’ll build it to suit the tenant.”

Lisa’s Sweet Stop and Matthews and Schilling Commercial may be the two newest additions along Beverly’s main thoroughfare, but they’re in good company-other recently-opened businesses in that area include Wagner’s Martial Arts and Fitness, Shanghai Asian Food, and the Cornerstone Restaurant.

Beverly-area resident David McAlarney, 20, is pleased to see increased business in the community.

“These are mostly small, locally-owned businesses, and that’s cool,” he said. “It would be good to see more small business-it helps everyone.”

Tina Christopher, 30, agreed.

“I think Beverly has a lot of potential, and I’m glad to see these new businesses,” she said. “But I’d like to see more new restaurants, too-maybe a Taco Bell. We already have plenty of pizza places.”

Beverly Mayor Rex Kenyon said the uptick in business is welcome.

“It’s a positive step for the community,” he said. “Businesses are recognizing the favorable business environment that exists in Beverly. Our philosophy is to do everything we can to support more business here, but then stay out of the way and let them grow.”

Kenyon said the increased activity has already had an impact on parking in the business district along Fifth Street.

“One-hour parking has been established in that area for some time, but it didn’t require much enforcement in the past because there were plenty of places to park,” he said. “Now we’re having to provide closer enforcement due to the increased amount of parking there.”

Kenyon said the village is continuing efforts that he hopes will help draw even more business development into the community.

“We’re focused on infrastructure, with a $1.4 million water project under way, as well as some major sidewalk improvement projects,” he said.