“We bring this building back in a heartbeat,” said Ryan Craig, who listed the many updates, repairs and renovations that are undergoing the iconic Central Building located at the corner of Sixth and Newton Streets in Jasper.
Adding a new roof, ripping inches of plaster off the original brick walls, removing old moldy carpet to expose concrete floors, updating windows, HVAC system, and wiring and adding items needed for new businesses moving in.
After sitting empty at one of the busiest intersections in County Dubois for nearly four years, the activity in the historic building is striking.
“You go through this every day, and it’s empty,” Ryan said. “And I think that’s what hits a lot of people, right? They want this to be nice.”
Ryan, his brothers, Ted and Tyler Crimp, and his mother, Brenda Crimp, bought the Central Building last summer after being lifeless for three years. Since then, the four have been grappling with construction supply issues to check the slate of works the building is running; They’ve been waiting on a new deck for eight months now. However, the steady progress in renovating and revitalizing the interior of the building has created excitement throughout the city. The building should also be prominent in the history of the area as well as its location.
It’s right in the heart of downtown,” Ryan said, waving at the windows framing a view of Dubois County Courthouse.
Ryan’s oldest newspaper clippings date from 1863. So far, the building appears to have been a hotel, bus stop, doctors, insurance offices, pharmacy, and various other retail establishments in its lifetime.
Ryan has photos and newspaper clippings of the 1940s building that features the current brick structure. It was created to house the Wilson Drug Company – many people remember the soda fountain – and the Victor Specialty Company.
Prior to that, it was Hotel Union for many years, with several companies operating in one corner of the building.
More recently, the building’s first floor housed Flick’s Hometown Pharmacy and HLS Health and Wellness, which the Stradtner family has operated for many years. The upper floor was full of business offices. In 2018, the Stradtners closed their business, and the building became largely empty after that.
As renovation work continues, tenants are lining up to set up shop. There is only one place left – the former doctor’s office of Dr. Thomas Gotti. The joke among the contractors working on the building is that the office has been haunted since someone died there. This theory is supported by a 1959 newspaper clipping related to the death of a resident after bending a slight barrier at a busy intersection.
Krystal Luker, who started The Copper Fox Hair and Nail Salon in 2019, is set to take up the largest space on the second floor. She is excited to move into the large open space with its modern exposed brick and multiple windows overlooking the city centre.
“It’s going to be a modern place,” she said of the updated building and new location.
The basement floor will see Jasper’s newest restaurant on stage.
Eric Youngblood and Kent Banning, local Jimmy John franchisees, plan to open Parlor Donuts on the first floor of the Central Building later this summer. The Café & Crafts is 4,000 square feet and serves freshly baked cakes and freshly roasted coffee.
The new location will feature a spacious open space featuring the urban aesthetic of a franchise for customers desiring coffee, specialty drinks, gourmet cakes made on site and other healthy menu items available to dine there. Additionally, they plan to take advantage of the command window for receiving orders.
While Parlor will occupy most of the first floor, two other companies will also use the first floor suites.
Melted Bead Wax studio is already working on the premises. Kendra Brelage’s new business provides full-body waxing services in her shop, accessible from an entrance on Newton Street at the 511 Newton Street location.
Creations by Kayla also operates another wing located on the first floor. Kayla Nash opened her business in 2022 after manufacturing self-care products while a stay-at-home mom. Her store features items like bath bombs, sugar scrubs, bath salts, specialty T-shirts, custom mugs, keychains, and more.
The basement area is set to become a members-only cigar lounge with 24-hour access. According to Ryan, after they tore up decades of moldy carpet and pushed out the grout, he appreciated the basement’s aesthetic but didn’t know what to do with it.
“I kind of joked that I was going to put a cigar lounge there for myself and my friends,” he explained.
While he kept talking about the activity going on in the building, he noticed that there was a lot of interest in the idea of the cigar lounge. In addition, there was the idea that members could access the area for private meetings or gatherings. Or just hanging out to play pool or table tennis while enjoying a cigar and some bourbon – all attended by members, not provided by the club.
Plans call for a locker area for members to use for items they attend, bathrooms, and showers. Additionally, a ventilation system is being installed to absorb cigar smoke, and furniture is already being stored in place pending permit approval so they can dive into renovation work.
According to Ryan, the club’s maximum waiting list of 75 members has already been completed.
The exciting thing about the project for him and his siblings is that it will revive a historic corner of the city, and fit in with the planned updates to the downtown area.
And with the enthusiasm the work on the building has created thus far, they know they are doing the right thing even though it has been a challenge.
“It’s a huge risk for such a large property, but it needs to be done,” Ryan said. “So, we’re excited about doing it and doing it right.”