“I’d be chucking carpet out the second floor window and people would walk by and ask me if I was bringing back square dancing,” Fernway said. “It’s always been a community gathering place.”
Estimated renovation cost of the building is $1 million. The co-op will be opened in three phases, the first of which is opening a taproom and community room. The taproom will be stocked exclusively with brews and spirits by local businesses, starting with the Yellow Springs Brewery. The menu also includes a series of non-alcoholic options, including kombucha and tea supplied by Fair Ridge Farms, and goodies supplied by the Neighborhood Nest in Fairborn. The community gathering space will provide an area for local business owners or artisans to host classes and workshops, and give a space for community members to enjoy these activities.
The second and third phases of operation are affordable artist housing, with the goal of having an artist in residence, and opening a shared commercial kitchen for independent bakers, food trucks, and small local food businesses. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to rent out commercial kitchen space and equipment, and be able to sell their products and host demos in the taproom.
Membership costs $250 for both businesses and community members, and benefits include access to member-only pricing, events and patronage dividends. The cooperative already has a few members, including local artists, artisans, and entrepreneurs, and has a goal of 1,000 members by the end of 2021. Further plans for the co-op would be developed with the input of artists and artisans who use the space.
“Being a member is being co-owner, they would have input in helping us build it,” Fernway said.
The taproom is expected to open sometime in 2022.