Will Entrepreneurism Save Our Old Buildings?
I can’t really say that my career is about old buildings. I am not an architect. I am not a historian. But I am passionate about old buildings. I love them!
Lucky for me, my real job and life are surrounded by old buildings. My business partner and I opened Shores Event Center in September 2011. Shores Event Center is housed in a 101-year old historic building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Many years ago, the building was home to the Shores-Mueller Company. The company provided home and farm supplies direct to consumers via horse and buggy. Today, our space is not used to manufacture products—instead it is used to create memories.
Many people ask us why we opened Shores Event Center. Our answer is not because we wanted to own and operate a venue in Cedar Rapids. The answer is simple. We loved the old building. More importantly, we wanted to make sure that the building would continue to live on.
As I travel to both big and small communities, I am very aware of the presence of vacant, historic buildings. Historic homes, old schools, old churches, and many other old buildings that were once not only beautiful pieces of architecture but frequently served as a vibrant piece of each community.
Each time I spot one of these buildings, my mind races with business ideas that could work in each of these spaces. Sometimes it is as easy as converting the building to new commercial office space or urban housing. Other times, it may take more creativity. Could a building become a small town or neighborhood grocery/convenience store? Is there a community need that is not being met?
If there were more hours in the day (and all the money in the world), I would tackle each one of these opportunities. But we all know that isn’t the case.
So here is my challenge to all of you entrepreneurs and historic building lovers…
Open your minds and hearts and let’s work together to save our old buildings!
If you, or someone you know, have an old building and/or a burning entrepreneurial passion but aren’t sure where to go with it, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to connect!