By Caitlin Davis, The Hopewell News
HOPEWELL — The city is one step closer to getting a new business in downtown. A deal was finalized recently for the purchase of 246 E. Broadway and the plans call for a doughnut shop and a restaurant, though the concept of the restaurant is still in the works.
Dave McCormack, president of Waukeshaw Development Inc., purchased the building, with the demolition already taking place, and is working toward making it a destination for the people of Hopewell and the surrounding communities.
“We’re not totally nailed down on the second concept, so it will be two restaurants in that space,” he said. “We’re going to try to do something really cool and just try to bring a little bit more life to East Broadway.”
The building, located at 246 E. Broadway, was closed on over a month ago, McCormack said. He said by the end of the year, he hopes one side of the restaurant will be opened with the other side to follow and the entire project to be completed by next spring.
Earlier this year McCormack participated in the Community Business Launch Program, through the Hopewell Downtown Partnership. The program offered eight weeks, with three hours per week, of courses in the lessons of starting up a business and business development practices. McCormack was one of the four winners, receiving a $20,000 grant geared towards start-up expenses. He won for his concept of Fat Babs, a doughnut shop. The other winners were Marilyn Craig, with a $15,000 grant for her concept, a restaurant called The Greedy Spoon, Lamonz Taylor, with his concept of the “anti-gym,” K&J Fitness, also awarded with a $15,000 grant, and Craig Richards, for a $20,000 grant for Sweet Tooth, a chocolate and candy shop.
McCormack said Evan Kaufman, executive director of the Hopewell Downtown Partnership, was instrumental in getting him to the table and getting him involved with the program. McCormack praised the program, saying it was successful to the Hopewell community.
“I do think it was really great for lot of new business or budding entrepreneurs to go through the program,” he said. “And have that opportunity to learn and create business plans and things like that. I think even to someone that’s not an award winner, it’s still something that’s really helpful for the community.”
McCormack brings with him many years of development experience. As the owner of Waukeshaw Development Inc., he has developed major projects in the surrounding areas such as Demolition Coffee in Petersburg and the Hopewell Lofts in the city. McCormack looks at Hopewell as a treasure in the Tri-Cities, even going so far as to say he “bucks” conventional wisdom when it comes to investing.
“I have a little different approach to picking locations. Strictly from a market and traffic standpoint, all the normal metrics, it’s not a good location,” he said. “… but from my experience, what I have noticed, in a lot of places I do development, which is a lot of small towns, is that Hopewell is still home to a lot of people and all these people live here for good reason.”
McCormack said he chose Hopewell as the location for the restaurant because of the romance that exists in the city. He said he is going to take the history of the city, mixed with the history of the building and of downtown, and create a concept that will be unique.
“We are going to do something a little different, a little stronger with the brand,” he said. “Make a bigger investment there and create something that you might see in a place like Richmond, or a little more high-end destination. It will be a complete brand experience.”