Huffman said she has spent some time trying to find out where Amos went, and after year of searching, she thinks she may have found him in Michigan. But, in all of her searching, she has developed her skills for finding people and doing genealogy and family archiving.
With her business growing, Huffman recently decided it was time to own the building in which her store is located, instead of renting. With her current building for sale, she also said she doesn’t want to be caught off guard if the person who buys it doesn’t renew her lease.
While searching for a new location, Huffman liked three different buildings in the downtown Mechanicsburg area, one of which is uninhabitable. After taking a look at all three, Huffman couldn’t decide what would be best, until she brought her contractor through the condemned building.
“I originally thought that this was just overwhelming, that there was just too much work that has to be done,” Huffman said. “I took my contractor in and his first comment was, ‘I can’t believe this is still on the market, and this is a great property.’ His estimates were nowhere near mine, so I said, ‘OK, let me think about this and take another look at it.’”
After that, it didn’t take long for her to choose the building that needed a few fixes.
If everything goes well, Huffman said she hopes the borough will help her with the financing for the construction, as part of a downtown redevelopment program. Then, once the financing is figured out, she can get the permits figured out and get things moving.
She said there were a handful of reasons she decided that buying the uninhabitable building was a better choice for her than the other two that were already finished. The biggest reason was the cost, with the ability to re-imagine what it should look like following close behind that.
“Part of it was because of the price because the minute it’s rehabbed, it’s already increased its value,” Huffman said. “The nice thing with this is with the price of it, it would be less than the (other ones) I was looking at. But it would be finished the way I’d prefer it. That was nice, to be able to put my touch on it.”
Right now, the contractor has his crew working on what doesn’t require a permit, such as cleaning and pulling out cabinets. Huffman said the top floor of the building is in rough shape — there is no working electricity or plumbing, the pipes are visible through the floor boards and the layout isn’t exactly what she envisioned.
Once they get the permits, however, Huffman said the amount of work isn’t expected to be too daunting, but she said it’s overwhelming to see all of the things that need to be completed at once. She said once they break it all down and come up with the plans, she’s confident that things will come together fairly quickly.
“(The contractor’s) time frame wasn’t that long — it was only a few months,” Huffman said. “Once we start putting the electrical and all that in, we have to get building permits. By the end of the summer, I should have a new place. My lease here is up in August. There is a chance that I will have to close for a month or two, but we’re trying not to have that happen.”
When the building is finished, Huffman said she hopes to be able to host events, do more research into people’s family trees, and allow people to rent out a room in the back to hold their own events. She said being a part of the downtown community is important to her because having more businesses downtown makes more people want to be a part of it.
“I have a soft spot for rehabbing buildings,” she said. “And I like the fact that it’s going to help the downtown instead of seeing a building torn down, it will help build up and keep it going. I like what’s happening downtown.”
All photos by Jason Malmont/The Sentinel