ASHLAND – Downtown Ashland got another boost with the announcement of a microbrewery and restaurant planned for the former Gilbert’s Furniture building.
Doug Reynolds, 46, and his wife, Anna, signed on the dotted line Friday to take over ownership of the 166-year-building and hope to have the establishment open by the end of the year. However, the exact opening date will depend on how fast the renovations can be completed and Reynolds can acquire all the permits and licenses needed.
The restaurant and microbrewery, known as Uniontown Brewing Co., will tentatively be open six days a week, Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with seating for 80 to 100 people. Reynolds said he will offer a full light menu for lunch and a full menu for dinner, including small-plate appetizers.
“It’s not going to be your standard bar food,” Doug Reynolds said.
He plans to hire 12 to 14 employees once the restaurant and microbrewery are up and running at full capacity.
The five-barrel microbrewery will be located in the basement and the restaurant and bar will be on the main floor with access from both Main and South streets. The business will take up about 7,500 square feet of the total 41,000-square-foot building.
Reynolds plans to offer five to seven signature ales, with as many as 10 to 12 on tap, including seasonal and guest taps. Reynolds will be doing the brewing but will likely hire an assistant brewer and a head brewer.
Reynolds said talks have already been started about being able to close South Street which runs behind the business for live entertainment.
“We would love to be able to make something like that happen for Ashland and to have kind of an entertainment district,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds has worked in catering, fast food management and beer retailing. Most recently, he was supervisor of the Ashland University Eagle’s Nest.
According to Ashland County real estate records, the Reynoldses paid $235,000 for the building to purchase it from Keenan Hahn. Hahn had purchased the building in March 2013 for $60,000 from Farmers & Savings Bank. Farmers & Savings Bank bought the building in July 2011 at sheriff’s auction for $39,000.
Gilbert’s Furniture closed in 2008 and the building sat vacant for several years before Hahn purchased the building and began trying to develop the property.
The former warehouse building on South Street was not included in the deal.
“We’ve been watching the last few years with the revitalization of the downtown and we wanted to be a part of that,” Reynolds said. “I grew up around downtown. When I was a kid, that’s where everyone went, so I have good memories of that.”
“My wife and I always envisioned ourselves owning our own business but we’ve never taken that step forward. We looked at each other a couple years ago and said, ‘Let’s do this,’ and we moved forward,” Reynolds said.
They looked at several buildings, and the more downtown buildings they looked at, the more they knew they wanted to be in a downtown building.
“It just felt right. Everything felt right to be downtown,” Reynolds said.
The downtown history is what led to Reynolds choosing the name. Ashland was originally known as Uniontown when it was first settled, until the early 1800s.
“We had multiple names and we stuck with Uniontown because every time we were downtown, and looked at another building we saw more history and how awesome this town was, and it just became a passion for us,” Reynolds said.
The kitchen area will require the most extensive renovations before the restaurant can open.
“Most of the building will be left intact. It’s a gorgeous building. We don’t want to degrade it anymore than we need to,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said the second and third floors of the building will be available for future ventures.