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Friday, April 18, 2014

Big changes coming to downtown Goshen

Better World Books to move and Electric Brew may soon follow.

Posted on Feb. 21, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Feb. 21, 2013 at 5:13 p.m.

GOSHEN — Downtown Goshen could see some major shifts this summer.

Better World Books , currently at 118 E Washington St., and the Electric Brew, 136 S Main St., are looking at relocation.

The relocation of these two businesses has been made possible by the upcoming vacancy of Town and County Appliance Inc., 215 South Main Street. Town and Country will vacate the building, owned by Mayor Allan Kauffman, by May 14, after which the bookstore will begin moving in.

Better World Books store manager Brad Weirich hopes the store’s new location in the Town and Country building will be open by July 1.

Weirich said the move provides the store with an opportunity to grow and offer more space to accommodate the business and its customers.

“I always like to be growing,” he explained. “There’s nowhere else to go here. It’s really an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.’

He anticipates the current store will not close while the move is in progress and said Better World Books will be holding sales to cut down on the number of books that need to be moved.

The current Better World Books location may not be vacant for long, however, as plans are in the works to relocate the Electric Brew to that site.

Electric Brew owner Myron Bontrager said that while a move isn’t necessary, the opportunity to relocate to the current Better World Books building is enticing.

“The move could be advantageous to us,” Bontrager said. He noted that the new location would offer more space and parking in front of the business, as well as the opportunity for two small conference rooms where groups could meet.

“It’s a real need for what we do,” Bontrager said of the conference rooms, adding that the spaces could accommodate 10 to 15 people comfortably.

Bontrager was also intrigued by the chance to partner with Ignition Music, which occupies the space immediately east of the current bookstore. He noted the logical cooperation between his coffee shop and a live music venue as another reason the Brew is considering the space.

Steve Martin, owner of Ignition Music, said that while the downtown dynamic is a sensitive thing, he would welcome the Brew’s move into the space vacated by the Better World Books.

“What makes downtown work is the collaboration between businesses,” Martin explained. “I see (the Brew’s relocation) as a real nice fit.”

Martin said that Ignition’s partnership with the bookstore had been good, but that a lot of coordination had been required, especially when Better World Books had to stay open and staffed when the music venue held concerts.

Martin also added the Brew’s penchant for providing a stage for local performers could increase the number of shows at Ignition. While he stated that Ignition would not become the type of venue to offer musical acts several nights a week, the opportunity would be available to add a few shows featuring local performers, in addition to Ignition’s lineup of national touring artists.

Martin anticipates that if the Brew ends up relocating, even acts brought in by the Brew would perform on the Ignition side of the building, in case Brew customers wanted a separation from the music. He also stated that he’d like to take control of the whole space in his section of the building, perhaps increasing the number of vinyl records the store carries.

While the Better World Books’ part of the move has been finalized, Bontrager said he is not quite ready to make a final decision on whether to switch locations.

“There’s a really good possibility that we’re going to move there,” he said, but there are still some areas to work out before he makes up his mind.

“That’s the only building we’re looking at,” Bontrager said, so if it turns out the Brew’s relocation won’t go through, he said it won’t be a serious problem.

If Bontrager does decide to relocate his business, he hopes to move in just a few weeks after Better World Books moves.

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