Big plans in store for small town’s downtown


It hasn’t died out.  But, downtown Ash Grove isn’t quite as lively these days.

“This is a town that most people have forgotten about,” explained businessman Justin Riedle.  “And, nothing has really happened down here in three decades.”

Most storefronts these days are empty.  Some are boarded up.  It is a far cry from way back when.

“It is neat to look at the old pictures of 100 years ago and see this city street elbow to elbow with people,” said Stuart Coutchie, President of Griffin Industries- located on Main St.

Now, only the occasional car passes by.  But, change could be around the bend.

Stuart, whose Griffen Industries entails metal crafting, could get some neighbors.

“These little towns need a boost and it is good to see the community come back,’ he said.

Interest is also being sparked in revitalizing Main Street.  One local developer has purchased several buildings and has plans for retail shops and a restaurant. 

 Businessman Justin Riedle, owner of Legacy mechanical, is also working on some revitalization projects.

“We fell in love with some buildings down here, purchased them, started renovations,” he explained.

Riedle plans to use his buildings as shops and lofts upstairs.

He explained, “They were falling down.  It was either do what you are going to do or just leave them alone and let them fall down.  So, we decided to go ahead and do what we were going to do and try and save the buildings.”

The glory days of Main Street may be over.  But investors here say they believe life can return to this main street

“Sometimes things move slowly, explained Marc Schwenn.  “And at least the ball is moving and it is awesome to see it and hopes it keeps moving forward.

Schwann and his wife Dolores Coble opened up Mama Loca’s Café and Cantina back in 2010.  They’re looking forward to the possibility of additional businesses on the street.

“We have seen it slowly grow. And the thought of it being revitalized just brings a happiness you can’t imagine. It is pretty awesome for the whole community,’ stated Schwenn.