Roy and Jody Hoener have opened a new business in the historic Fort Scott downtown area.
“The name of the new apartments are called ‘H Bar Suites,'”, Jody Hoener said. “This was Roy’s cattle brand when he had cattle.”
The apartments are located in historic downtown Fort Scott, directly above Hole in the Wall Liquor, another business the couple own, and across from the Fort Scott National Historic Site, she said.
The physical address is 8 North Scott Street.
They are fully furnished apartments.
The Hoeners have used Ruddick’s Furniture, and local contractors: Casper Enterprises, Stoughton Plumbing, KTK Electric, and Perry Cannon to name a few. The cabinets were made by Kirby’s Cabinets.
“There are two apartments. The two-bedroom apartment is currently available, click on the link,” she said.
The couple hopes to have the one bedroom available at the end of this week, Hoener said.
“There were a few issues with furniture and appliances being back-ordered that has delayed the opening,” she said.
History of the Hoener businesses at the site
“Our project started in 2016 when we started looking for a place to move Hole in the Wall Liquor. (https://holeinthewallliquor.com/) ,” she said. “One stipulation we had to move as we wanted to remain downtown. As business owners with a vested interest in our community, we wanted to make a larger impact beyond a retail store. Downtown revitalization’s direct impact is well documented and has shown to spur local economies.”
“When we took on this old and condemned building downtown, it literally had poles coming from the middle of the street, up to the side of the building, holding up the wall, for almost a decade,” Hoener said. “This was quite the eyesore to one of the main entrances of our downtown.”
“Heather Smith, the city’s then Economic Development Director, showed us several downtown buildings,” she said. “It was a hard sale. All of the buildings were in such disrepair that it would be impossible for us to come up with the capital to make the needed improvements. The cost of replacing the roof was much more than the value of the whole building. In short, we discovered what many already knew: it would be impossible to obtain a loan on a worthless building. We learned first-hand why these buildings are sitting empty but also a few tricks, tips, and solutions to the problem.”
” Smith, through the City of Fort Scott, was able to offer us the State of Kansas Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for historic districts,” Hoener said. “This is a state-wide grant program, highly competitive, to help cities provide financial incentives to bring these condemned buildings back to life. After much thought and planning, working through the risks and unknowns of old buildings, and working with Smith and Dave Martin, we decided to take a leap of faith. ”
“Working with Smith (even after she took on a new job in Wisconsin!) and Susan Galemore at the Southeast Kansas Regional Planning Commission we wrote and submitted a winning CDBG grant,” she said. “The grant, paired with creative financing from Gregg Motley at Landmark National Bank, and lots of sweat equity, brought new life into the building, encouraging foot traffic downtown, and being a part of the momentum to spur economic growth.”
They had a plan and worked it.
“Our business plan was developed and written in phases,” she said. “The first phase was to move Hole in the Wall Liquor to the new location and open the retail liquor store.”
” The second phase was to then take advantage of the opportunity in the space upstairs and develop housing. We are now, four years later, almost to the end of that final phase,” Hoener said.
“Our initial plans were to use the space as market-rate apartments,” she said. “We have since decided to try marketing the space on VRBO as short term or vacation rental space. We have decided we can always offer them as apartments later if that does not work out.”