2016 was supposed to be a bit more concise. I wanted to focus on the smaller picture. Work on the list of little things I wanted to do better and hold the big picture stuff back to 2018. Last July we purchased the building next to us from our friend Marvin and knew what we wanted to do with it; we just didn't know when we would begin.
Baby steps. Patience. Wait...this lasted for three days. 91 microbreweries visits later, 100's of design hours, blueprints, permits, applications, and beer tastings filled up 2016.
Since the beginning of eMbers VENUE, the entire team always talked about creating. It didn't matter what we were talking about; construction, design, community, music, mixed drinks, festivals, etc., we just want to create. It was only a matter of time when we felt the urge to evolve and create again.
Creating allows many things to happen:
Community Spirit: We love this community; we love the people, the potential, and the new ideas that are coming together and forming. Our downtown will evolve, it simply has to. We are working extremely hard to create an outdoor design that will make our community friends proud to drive/walk/bike past or walk into. The corner lot leads people into downtown and that makes it very important to us to make you all happy with the space. This outdoor space will completed soon and will be done before the plans for the downtown enrichment grant (new sidewalks and streetlights) is presented to the city. We want it to have a seamless design that compliments what the city has in store for downtown in 2018.
Creativity: I'll confess, this project is driving me a bit mad. I have enough sketches and ideas to create 40 more businesses. Money, time, and energy always seems to be in short supply so without creativity, I'd be in trouble! I'm always a firm believer that creativity is contagious. I feed off others' creativity as I hope others will feed off ours.
Discovery: I don't like visiting places that are predictable. I want to make a discovery. This will be a discovery for guests and locals alike when they visit downtown.
Collaborations: We love to work with others. The beer world is full of this. This makes me happy. So many opportunities to work with local farmers with foods and ingredients. There are so many ways to incorporate "cause" based adventures. People helping people helping people...
Beer: Seriously, beer. Not just any beer, but a beer you can drink while standing or sitting ten feet away from the beautiful stainless steel and copper sculptures that created what you are sipping. That's magical.
With this adventure, the team grows. It is so important for us to surround ourselves with passionate, creative, innovative, quirky, and adventurous souls. We have them here and love them dearly. Soon we will introduce you to the newest.
I've already been asked many questions; some I can answer, some not yet.
The name? - eMbers STATION is being created from a long standing service station owned by our business neighbor and friend Marvin Nagel. On July 7th, 1949; a building twice as large as our venue caught fire, was destroyed and nearly took our venue down with it. After the debris was leveled and cleared, Jack's Uptown Service was built (1952?). Upon Marvin's retirement, we purchased the building and lot on July 7th, 2015. eMbers STATION, in my opinion, is the only name we could have given it. I grew up in my father's collision center. I'm excited to bring this world together again with our vision.
the construction? - Ya, we are making a mess right now. The timing was a little off with winter quickly approaching but at the same time, Ryan x 2 and I did a large part of VENUE construction with two chicken hatch lights, a space heater (thanks a lot Janelle), and a lot of layers of clothing. We are immune. We have our favorite locals helping us out. Alan Valade on electric, Kevin Kaufman with construction, Fred at Kems for lumber, DK and Sons for masonry, Scott with heating and cooling, Heartland with the plumbing, Kentland Bank with financing (kiss kiss), windows from DeMotte Glass, and the McElfreshes with concrete. Many of them started the eMbers adventure with us and are both tolerant and open to when I say "Hey! I woke up this morning with an idea so why don't we do this instead?" That's very important around here. If you see us freezing outside this winter, I like coffee with .5 oz cream and two sugarcubes...
what about the VENUE? - The VENUE will always be the VENUE. We love the weddings, open houses, class reunions, surprise parties, corporate events, holiday events, and everything else that allowed us the opportunity to meet so many community friends. Our passion is hospitality and trying to make people feel special on special occasions. The design of this expansion is for both sides to compliment each other. Guests who visit the STATION will have more opportunities to be part of the VENUE and the guests who are invited to events at the VENUE will naturally have the opportunity to utilize our daily STATION space.
what about the mural? - The mural had to precede construction. it was quite an effort our friend with the Tippecanoe Arts Federation, Tetia Lee, made to help make this happen. With local support from the Jasper County Tourism Commission and Prairie Arts Council all under the National Endowment for the Arts, it was made possible for San Francisco artist Cameron Moberg to come to Rensselaer and create this beautiful mural. We worked closely with him to ensure he knew the plans and positioning of everything we were going to do. Somehow, he was ahead of schedule and added more to the artwork as "extra credit". This component will be slightly shielded but will not take away from his work. He may have left a surprise for you all inside the main service station room as well...
when will I be able to taste the beers? - It is a process. The true process began early this year. Everything started with blueprints, approvals, applications, submissions, and so forth. The proper way to start the process begins with federal approval and working the way down to state and local. Federal always takes the longest then it gets quicker. I remember listening to my friends at Carpenter Creek Cellars talk about their process. It is true. Must. Have. Patience....
We are shooting for April to be our soft opening. With the VENUE, it was fast and furious once construction was complete; we learned a lot about a bar in a hurry. With the added food component to the expansion and the new way alcohol will be presented, we want to start things right and efficient. A longer soft opening will help that and then we anticipate being open to the public in May. So much to do yet but that is our goal!
what kind of food? - It will be a unique form of cooking to the area that stays true to the eMbers name and a few more surprises.
hours of operation? - (shoulder shrug)
This expansion is a big step for us. It is only made possible because of the community's love and support. Endless thanks for giving us this opportunity to continue to share our vision with all of you. Small business, as many of you know, is tiring. Anxiety, fear, joy, excitement, and pain all get smashed together like a rubber bounce ball and chucked at a wall in a small room. Whenever my crazy mood swings hit, like clockwork, one of you is there for me to offer encouragement; I cannot explain how grateful I am for that. Rensselaer has taken my family in as one of your own and I want to make you proud for that. Thank you for giving me the faith and confidence that we can succeed in this city and do our part in making this great community even better.
PS - We have a wicked cool concert December 3rd. Would love to see you :) Check it out HERE