Façade program gaining steam

AREA News, News - 10.19.15

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 Bruce Baker/McCook Gazette

sports shoppee

The Sports Shoppe on Norris Avenue recently completed renovations to its entrance and windows. (Bruce Baker/McCook Gazette)

McCOOK, Neb. — A retail sporting goods store in downtown McCook has a fresh new look after completing store front renovations recently. The Sports Shoppe and Big Red Etc. is the fifth business this year to benefit from the McCook Economic Development Corp. facade improvement program and two other prominent businesses are slated to follow suit.

The Sports Shoppe renovations included changing the layout of the front entrance wall, upgrading from single- to double-pane windows and installing a new awning and signage. The project is providing an energy savings to the business in addition to a fresh new look, according to store representatives.

Two other popular downtown businesses, Sehnert’s Bakery and Farrell’s Pharmacy and Hallmark, have also applied for grant assistance from the MEDC program. Sehnert’s intends to freshen up its presence while placing an emphasis on maintaining the familiarity and historic nature of the business, according to MEDC Executive Director Rex Nelson.

Nelson said Farrell’s will address water issues it has been dealing on the exterior of its four buildings, as well as stretch the Hallmark look to the other buildings.

The facade improvement grant represented a small portion of the overall expense of the Sports Shoppe renovation but Nelson said the program is serving a more critical role than the numbers might indicate. The Sports Shoppe renovation cost more than $38,000 to complete and received a $2,150 facade improvement grant.

“I think it’s important and helps motivate owners to do work most want to do anyways,” said Nelson. He said the store front improvements are helping downtown McCook thrive and foster a reputation as a destination locale for retail operations.

“Which is really what we were trying to accomplish. It’s one more reason to come to McCook,” said Nelson.

MEDC officials hope interest in the program grows as other local businesses notice the benefits and realize the accessibility of the sales tax funded program.

Other facade programs completed this year include a $5,000 grant towards a $21,143 renovation project Gary Parks completed on his West Second Street building. The McCook Area Chamber of Commerce recently relocated to the building and the project included new windows and moving a street light.

Jay and Kim Schilling were granted $2,448 towards $4,895 in improvements to the sign and front of the former McCook Glass Building on Norris Avenue.

Renalle’s Hair Salon received a $3,068 grant to assist with a $6,136 improvement project and Ambience Counseling was granted $5,000 towards a $20,000 project.

Both businesses are located on Norris Avenue.