Business owners and others interested in downtown Fort Scott, met Jan. 12 in the future walk-in freezer space at E3 Ranch and Co. store at 13 S. National Ave.
The Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Downtown Meet and Greet was hosted by E3 Ranch and Co.
E3 owner Jennifer LaRoche said the room “will be full of the walk-in freezer and meat products” soon. In addition, the storefront of the business will be redone, she said.
The other storefront business spaces at the corner of Wall Street and National Avenue “we are chipping away at construction,” she said.
There are two spaces on National Avenue and one on Wall Street available for retail space, Laroche said.
For more information contact LaRoche at the E3 Ranch store at 13 S. National or Common Ground Coffee Co. around the corner on Wall Street she said.
There are three new businesses this calendar quarter in the downtown area, Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lindsay Madison said.
“Next week the Star Emporium is opening on Main Street,” Madison said. “Laree + Co is at Wall and National and H Bar Suites is a new vacation rental on VRBO, above the Hole in the Wall Liquor Store on Wall Street.”
Low-interest loans are available for businesses, Madison said.
E-Community Loans are available locally and can be applied for at www.networkingkansas.com, she said.
She said a Youth Entrepreneur Challenge is on for all high school students in Bourbon County. “They must put together a business plan and compete,” Madison said.
Some of those in attendance were given an opportunity to speak.
Fort Scott Interim City Manager Jeff Hancock said candidates for the city manager position have been narrowed down.
The newly reorganized city commission, with Josh Jones as mayor, will work on capital improvements, street improvements, will be sharing “business services” with the Bourbon County Commission, and working on Land Bank possibilities, Hancock said.
Fort Scott’s Economic Development Director Rachel Pruitt said the city has “come a long way” and noted that Diane Striler recently purchased the old Rennett Studio on North Main street, additionally the recently completed Union Lofts apartments on Main Street have 10 of the 25 apartments rented. There are two barbers who plan to open businesses downtown, she said.
Carl Brenner, Chief of Interpretation and Resource Management at Fort Scott National Historic Site, said the fort is doing maintenance projects on seven buildings currently. These are paid for by park user fees, he said.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the fort employees have been utilizing online capabilities more. In-person tours are still available and they are planning to have school student visitors at the fort in the near future.
Dacia Clark, Small Business Development Center representative, spoke about the partnership with Bourbon County Workforce and Entrepreneur Resource Center, which is located above the new Star Emporium Storefront at 17 S. Main. Her hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Clark can help new businesses get started and marketing plans for established ones. She can also help with Quickbooks for organizing data.
Beth Nuss spoke on behalf of the Lowell Milken Center For Unsung Heroes Park. She and a citizen committee have worked for several years on the greenspace repurposing. Recently Lowell Milken is providing funds to bring the new park to fruition, and “the goal is to have it done by the all-school reunion in (June 2021),” she said.
Madison said the downtown walking trail, a project of LEAD Bourbon County, is slated for completion by April 1, 2021. The project was funded by the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team.
Madison said a sailor remains are being returned to Fort Scott for burial at the national cemetery on May 29. William Barnett was 21 when he died at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in World War II. She wondered if there were any living relatives who would be interested in the event. Cheney-Witt Funeral Chapel owner Jerry Witt who attended the meet and greet, said Barnett was his second cousin.
To learn more about Barnett, view: