Entrepreneur taking ideas for 5 Points Five & Dime

Entrepreneur taking ideas for 5 Points Five & Dime

If you’ve been contemplating a business in bustling 5 Points but haven’t found the right venue, the former Fuel Coffeehouse building has a new owner looking for fresh ideas.

Steve Williams, CEO at family-owned Harbinger Sign, last month finalized the purchase of the former Fuel Coffeehouse at 1037 Park St. If all goes according to plan, a two-story building that’s passed all recent city inspections and is capable of having a rooftop bar will be offering lease opportunities to aspiring businesses.

Williams’ friend and Harbinger chief strategist Jon Bosworth said Williams wants interested businesses – or anyone with fresh ideas – to contact him.

“He wants to hear from people about what they think would work there,” Bosworth said. “You never know what ideas are looking out there that haven’t been flushed out… He wants to find out what cool ideas locals have (for the building).”

Built in 1938 as a Woolworth & Co. store, the structure later became Peterson’s Five & Dime before it closed in the 1990s. Fuel operated in the building until closing in 2010 and leaving it vacant.

Issues with asbestos have been resolved and the building is good to go, Bosworth said.

“Steve never lacks for ideas,” Bosworth said, “but he wants to make sure he has vetted ideas that people have for the building. He is looking for partners with skill sets that would complement his skills.”

Generally, Williams sees the first floor being “mixed use” that could involve a restaurant, Bosworth said. Williams has spoken to restauranteurs from Atlanta and Charleston, S.C., as well as St. Augustine and Jacksonville, some of whom have already made formal business proposals.

During a recent trip to Atlanta, Williams toured several restaurants operations he felt might be a good fit for the building.

“We wanted to find inspiration,” said Bosworth, who also went along on the trip that was officially for an art show. “We wanted to talk to those people and get a cool concept to expand into Jacksonville.”

At least one 5 Points business owner says she’s excited about Williams purchasing the building and can’t wait to see what he has planned.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Gunnell Humphreys, owner of Edge City and a fixture in the Riverside business community for nearly 40 years. “Steve Williams is one of these wonderfully creative people. He has solid business experience behind him…I can’t think of a better situation.”

She called Williams’ plans “fitting for Riverside” and recalled that he once owned an art gallery in Park Street. “If you look at what he’s posting on Facebook it’s very interesting,” she said.

Matthew Clark of Prime Realty who was involved in the property transaction says the former owner, Patricia Branch of Richmond, Va., feels the building is in good hands.

“The current owner is glad to see it change hands and believes in his vision,” Clark said. “It’s going to be something special in the neighborhood.”

Williams isn’t new to Riverside, having operated Pedestrian Art Gallery on Park Street until about 10 years ago. Bosworth believes that connection will give him a special perspective on what business will best enhance 5 Points.

“He wants to make it something special,” Bosworth said of Williams, who also owns the Florida Mining Gallery. “He’s learning as much as he can about business proposals and financing packages so he can assess what he can do to contribute to the neighborhood.”

Williams has no opening date in mind. For those wanting more information or to monitor the projects progress, visit www.petersons5-10.com.

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