New Era at Old Lumber Yard
By Kellie Bucy
“Things, they are a changin’” Says the sign on the front window of The Old Lumber Yard. The complex that has stood the test of time is once again facing changes as it evolves with Johnson City.
On February 1, 2017 The Old Lumber Yard will no longer be an antique mall, but will begin its transformation into an event space.
Jesse and Sandy Kinman, owners of The Old Lumber Yard Complex since 1998, opened the antique mall in January of 1999. The change comes from a shift in customer tastes from antiques to more modern items and her wanting to focus more on their other business, East Main Grill.
Sandy said that, after 18 years, she was ready to leave retail and move to other projects. She describes the change as bittersweet. She’s sad to see the store closing but excited for the Lumber Yard’s next chapter.
January 31 was the last day it was considered an antique mall and will begin its transformation into an event space by March of this year.
“We’ve already seen a lot of interest.” Said Sandy about the outlook of the space. Meetings, art shows and rehearsal dinners are a few of the occasions she envisions the Old Lumber Yard being used for. She reported they already have people planning to rent the space for their upcoming events.
She also looks forward to using it in conjunction with East Main Grill. “We once had a party of 75 people and had to close the restaurant for them.” She said. With this event space, she says they could host large groups while still serving at East Main Grill.
Sandy wants The Old Lumber Yard to be a destination; a meeting place for families and friends who have Johnson City as a half way point.
At the back of The Old Lumber Yard Courtyard is a new coffee shop and bakery called Fresco. Chris Cruz moved her business into its new home in December of 2016. Another store called the Back Porch, will also open along the courtyard.
The Old Lumber Yard was built in 1927 and was originally known as the Stein Lumber Mill. The Kinmans took ownership in July of 1998. Through the years, they have renovated the space themselves, to fit their business needs.
All the materials used in its restoration are original to the Stein Lumber Mill. They’ve framed windows and redone walls with lumber they have found in what was once the storage area of the Lumber Mill or by repurposing other parts of the complex.
Sandy Kinman assures everyone that, through the changes, it will remain The Old Lumber Yard.