The owners of three Main Street businesses that have undergone recent upgrades are all supportive of the new Downtown Master Plan in Stephenville and take pride fitting in with the concept.
There’s also a direct correlation with the three in that a generational succession goes along with the changes.
Stagg and Stagg Law Office
Stagg and Stagg Law Office has been undergoing renovations since November of 2018 and is nearing completion with a full interior and exterior renovation.
Fred Stagg said there is more work to be done on the property outside, so as the Stephenville Downtown Business Improvement Association comes up with its plan, they plan to embrace it and add to the downtown experience.
The building itself will be having a name dealing with the historical recognition of one of earlier businesspeople in the town – Lemuel (Lem) Lidstone and will be named The Lidstone Building.
The building itself started out as Lidstone and Luscombe Plumbing Shop back in the late ’50s or early ’60s and was purchased by Fred Stagg and Ron Callahan in 1980. Callahan died in 2008 and the Stagg’s purchased his part of the building from Ron’s wife Sadie.
Despite being older than him, Stagg and Lidstone were good friends, thus the tie in with the historical part of their plan.
Stagg is nearing 77 years of age, so he and wife Cheryl (who also works at the law office) were pleased when their son Trevor decided he wanted to come home and practice law in Stephenville.
Cheryl said that sealed the deal for the renovations as the practice will move on with the next generation, but she thinks Fred has some work years in him yet.
David Walsh, owner of Ben’s Pharmacy, is a second-generation operator who took over from his dad – the late Kevin Walsh.
The business was originally started by businessman Ben Schwartz, who hired on Walsh (from St. John’s) as a pharmacist. When it got too busy for Walsh to handle the pharmacy end of the business alone, Richard Fleming was brought in as a second pharmacist and all three men became partners in the business.
Walsh said his reasoning for an upgrade was the building was older and worn out and needed a makeover, especially to increase the room in the dispensary.
While there is a modernization both to the interior and exterior of the building, he wanted the exterior to keep that old “boom town” feel downtown Stephenville had when the Ernest Harmon Air Force Base was operating.
“I wanted to create a more welcoming atmosphere for people who come to visit our downtown and our store,” Walsh said.
He believes the new town square planned for Main Street will be a big help and give people more stuff to do, a place to relax and bring their kids and even get entertained at times.
Walsh would like to see a few more businesses improve the ambiance of downtown Stephenville and for some that could be a coat of paint right up to a full renovation.
“I think individual businesses have to do their share in the Main Street revitalization,” he said.
Marcel Cornec is a next generation operator who is taking over Beavercraft (a gift and novelty store) from his mom Paula Cornec.
Work started two years ago with a facelift on the exterior, keeping the character of the building as it’s “the type of place that visitors want to go into.”
Cornec said this past year they did a full renovation on the inside by opening it up more.
While the store was only open sporadically for some years, its now operating full time.
Cornec and his mom, who still helps with the business, feel downtown revitalization is important for businesses, as it draws people in.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the new downtown master plan put into effect, especially since the planned town square is right next door,” Cornec said.