The building known for years as the Kress Building has been sold to Coon Rentals LLC.
The building at 17 S. Main most recently housed a grocery store that had been a recipient of SPARK money, which was federal money given to the state who gave the money to local governments to help businesses during the pandemic.
BAJA Investments had purchased the building, remodeled it, purchased supplies and equipment, and opened a grocery store called The Star Emporium Downtown General Store in January 2021 and closed in May 2021, citing not enough business.
BAJA Investments had received a $450,000 grant from SPARK to provide a downtown grocery store.
To learn more about the SPARK program: https://covid.ks.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/SPARK-Overview-06.16.20.pdf
“They (BAJA) did give it an effort,” he said. “And if the traffic would have been there…but it wasn’t. He had all the receipts, there was accountability for this.”
Coon Rentals LLC paid $158,000 for the building in an auction last week.
“When that business failed, the county had two options,” Bourbon County Commissioner Lynne Oharah said. “Let the business go into bankruptcy, which would have taken over a year. Or sell the property and it goes back on the county tax rolls.”
“We are in the process of closing on the property,” he said.
To see prior stories on the business:
“Coon Rentals LLC will manage and maintain the building for its new tenants, soon to come,” Robert Coon said. Coon who with his wife, Kimberly, owns the business.
“There have been so many negative vibes regarding the grant the previous business there had, but I don’t think anyone thought of the greatness of it: federal money came to Kansas, to Bourbon County,” Coon said. “Then the grant was used partly to revitalize a building. In the process, lots of small local businesses received some of those funds to work on the building. That’s economic development at its finest.”
“I also think the current (Bourbon County) commissioners should be applauded for salvaging the situation with the building,” Coon said. “Commissioners had a decision to make regarding acquiring the building and redistribution to avoid lots of issues.”
“We have three businesses, A1 Towing, A1 Bill Bonds, and Coon Rentals LLC, ” Coon said. “None require a storefront.”
“We are going to lease that building to a business,” He said. “That agreement is in process. They will operate in the whole downstairs portion of the building.”
“We are going to remodel the upstairs and have more professional businesses there,” he said.