CASHMERE– Since acquiring the property in 2022, The Side Street Cashmere owners Andy and Lana Thomas have been hard at work turning the Railroad Ave. buildings into their vision of a community hub.
Their plan for the roughly 60,000 square foot space is to create a place full of vibrant, locally owned and sourced businesses where families and friends can gather and build community.
"So we're just trying to create a world of community, you know, kind of bring back that old world hyper-localized economy," Thomas said. "So we space planned the entire building. Everything's been put into CAD, and we know what businesses go where. So we're not typical landlords, just open up the building and kind of say whoever is willing to pay us rent can be here."
"We knew where the tap room is going to be, the coffee shops, the artist's studios, the speakeasy, farmers co-op, butcher shop, deli, hotel," he said. "All those things were space planned for a particular part of our building."
Thomas wants to ensure that every business that goes into the building serves Cashmere. The couple has a young son and values Cashmere because it is a great place to raise a family, Thomas said.
He hopes to build on that foundation.
"I think it's a little slice of heaven," he said. "I think Cashmere is absolutely wonderful with those family values and kids riding their bikes home from school and the sports programs in the community," he said. "And I think what this town values really warrants somebody coming in and saying that, like, let's do something for those types of great people."
"So ultimately, what we have is 22 businesses space-planned for the building, hopefully, owned by 22 people who live here or in the surrounding area, hiring people from here or the surrounding area, sourcing goods here, and really kind of keeping that hyper-localized economy and that that role will overlap," he said.
Businesses that have since opened in the space are a mailroom, an arts and crafts supply store, a family-friendly inn, and a woodshop.
In April, Thomas hopes to have a soft opening for the coffee shop, tap room, and retail area. After that wave of businesses gets up and going, he plans to focus on the culinary phase, including a farmers co-op, butcher shop, deli, commissary kitchen, bottleshop, and speakeasy.
"We kind of joke around here, this one impossible thing at a time," he said. "So what we're doing is a pretty big undertaking. I think that I'm qualified to do it, but it's a lot of work."
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