Another business will soon be joining the downtown Sedalia district, thanks to two men who saw the need to preserve historic buildings and invest in downtown.
Work has begun to transform the former Cecil’s Bike Shop at 700 S. Ohio Ave. into the newest Craft Beer Cellar location. The business will be both a retail location for craft beer, plus a few wine and spirit options, and a bar offering eight craft beer taps, said franchise owner Brad Wikstrom, of Sedalia.
Wikstrom said he doesn’t think the craft beer market is well-represented in Sedalia, despite a “good core group of people that would be interested in it.” He was originally torn between a downtown or west Sedalia location, but was eventually sold on his new building.
“Coming down here, Bob (Walters) showed us the building and we just really loved the renovation. Personally I love the historic feel to buildings,” Wikstrom said while giving the Democrat a tour Monday afternoon. “It sounds like there’s more and more development happening downtown and we want to help that progress along the way as well.”
CBC is in more than a dozen states, with several other stores coming soon. Sedalia will be the third CBC location in Missouri, following behind Clayton and Columbia.
CBC Co-Founder Suzanne Schalow said there were a number of reasons they were interested in Sedalia.
“When we opened the first store (in Boston), one of the things we knew was there was a little bit of good beer that dotted the country and it was all in the cities. If you look at the population of the U.S., across many states, of course cities are highly populated but look at the city’s size related to the rest of the state — there are plenty of people living outside cities that won’t make trips in,” Schalow said by phone Tuesday afternoon. “Something we care very much about is getting out of the cities and providing this exquisite good beer bottle concept in places that were not right in the heart.
“… If we can put a Craft Beer Cellar between Columbia and Kansas City, two big cities, that puts us in a better place. Our whole objective is to help contribute to better beer.”
Wikstrom said many of the beers will be local craft beers, such as from Columbia, Springfield or Kansas City.
“We’ll provide him as much support and education as possible, but it’s all (Brad) choosing his own beer,” Schalow said. “Local has never been more important in the beer industry in the U.S. and that means a lot in every area we are. It’s totally up to him to choose the beers that go on the shelf. We want Brad to be critical, we want him to care deeply about having the best beer possible on his shelves.”
Wikstrom said he doesn’t have an exact opening date, but he hopes to open in November before Thanksgiving. As CBC gets settled in Sedalia, Wikstrom said he hopes to partner with food trucks or other food merchants.
CBC isn’t just for, as Schalow calls herself, “beer geeks” — all employees will be a certified beer server through the Cicerone Certification Program and can help even a beer novice make the right selection.
“That’s one of the cool things, so if you come in here and you don’t know anything about craft beer, that’s fine,” Wikstrom said. “You can tell someone I like Bud Light and they’ll show you here’s some you might like. … It’s similar to a sommelier for wine, just on the beer side.”
While Wikstrom has been working to lay new flooring and paint the walls, much of the major work to renovate the historic building was already coordinated by building owner Bob Walters, of Columbia. A Sedalia native, Walters said his parents operated the Pacific Cafe in downtown Sedalia in the 1960s and 1970s. The former Cecil’s is his second project, his first being the building that now houses Anytime Fitness.
The building originally opened as a butcher shop Oct. 5, 1905, Walters said. Walters has old photos of the interior of previous stores, but said he wasn’t able to find an exterior photo from 1905, so the front of the building is his “best guess” as to what it looked like.
The ceiling is new but made to look like the previous tin ceiling tiles. The previous tiles were kept and Wikstrom said he hopes to repurpose them as well as the former Schwinn bicycle sign that hung outside the front door of Cecil’s.
Walters said often times franchises prefer to be located on a highway or only look at traffic counts, but he hopes the success of Anytime Fitness and the hopeful success of Craft Beer Cellar will prove they can also work downtown.
“I think there’s also something to be said for what we hope is kind of a reinassance downtown,” Walters said. “We opened Anytime Fitness and that worked, Brad’s works. That’s just one more piece of the puzzle in getting a little traction here and hopefully people will look a little harder. … I hope more people will do what we’ve done.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.