The building locally known as the Blossom Block, is just one of many examples of the revitalization of Bethel’s downtown.
The Blossom Block was built circa 1880 as a two and a half story gabled building. In 1895, the full third story was added to the building. As the largest building in downtown Bethel, it has housed such businesses as a hardware store and a general store, and more recently the Black Forest Cafe and Caterers.
The building lay semi-dormant for a period of time, until it was purchased by Barnard resident Kevin Barry. For almost two years, Barry has addressed the needs of the foundation and roof, while making the first floor of the building available for community events such as Bethel’s Better Block.
The current focus of the renovations is the first floor. Leah Crowley, owner and operator of HMH Salon, was the building’s first street-level tenant, beginning around February of this year. She was an active partner in the finish details of the space, which allowed it to be tailored to the salon’s specific needs.
More recently, Zac Deyo has signed on to bring his business, Ink and Iron Tattoo, to the storefront on the opposite end of the building. He plans to open in several weeks after the completion of the renovations. The largest retail space, located in the center of the building, is approximately 1,200 sq. ft., and is still seeking an active, community-focused tenant. Barry envisions a market or cooperative type of business which would provide services and/or products to residents and tourists alike.
The renovation of the historic building continues, with modern upgrades to the heating and electrical systems. In addition, the equivalent of three football fields worth of modern plumbing has been added, as well as an advanced sprinkler system.
Barry has also been careful to retain many of the historical features such as the wainscoting, flooring, pressed tin ceilings; and has also restored doors and windows that were rediscovered when he initially gutted the interior of the building.
A firm believer that inclusivity is crucial to the future of Bethel’s downtown village, Barry is planning for the building’s needs accordingly. The future of the building includes accessibility from the street, and an elevator for access to the second and third floors, where offices and apartments are planned.
For more information on the Blossom Block, contact Kevin Barry at 234-5157.
-- LISA CAMPBELL