After seeing the lack of flooring, the deteriorating interior and the plant life growing up into 115 N. Wenzel St., most people would take a hard pass, but Jaclyn Journey and Whitney Neal saw the potential.
“It’s kind of my job to envision spaces,” said Journey, a wedding planner and florist. “Just imagine what it could be like.”
Her vision for the space is wood flooring and brick walls “as true to the building as possible” without spending an outrageous amount, she said. The more than 100-year-old building will act as a cozy space for her and her co-tenants to meet with clients.
“We needed something that could accommodate three growing businesses and add another one,” said Whitney Neal, a photographer who shoots weddings as well as portraits and family photos.
Once renovated, the building will house an office for Journey, an office and studio space for Neal, a work room for seamstress Michelle Thomas and a stylist booth for cosmetologist and hair stylist Carley Randall.
It will provide a one-stop shop for brides, if that’s what they want, Neal said, but customers are welcome to hire one person and not the others; the businesses aren’t a package deal as all four operate separately.
Working in the same space also has rewards as small business owners, she said, including “having people next door who can be your cheerleader.”
They can offer opinions and advice to one another, Neal said, which some business owners don’t have.
It’s nice to have people who work in the same industry and understand your business under the same roof, she said, otherwise “running your own business can be kind of a lonely thing.”
Renovations are expected to be done as early as February. While they aren’t 100 percent confident that they will open by then, Journey said they’ve seen the quick transformation of other buildings in the Butcherblock development and expect to be in by spring.
Journey, Neal and Thomas currently operate out of a co-working space at Butchertown Pointe, but their lease is coming to an end, and they all need more space. The Wenzel Street building will offer double the square footage, Journey said.
“We see ourselves growing a lot in this space” personally and professionally, she said, adding that by the time the term of the original lease is up, the currently pregnant Journey will have a five-year-old.
Although they were ready to move out of Butchertown Pointe, both Journey and Neal said they wanted to stay in the Butchertown neighborhood.
“It’s charming,” Journey said.