The Braselton’s brothers’ motto for their downtown store was that one could buy anything needed “from the cradle to the grave.”
The original section of the Braselton Brothers’ Store — built in 1904 — is primed to return to its eclectic roots.
Ongoing renovations to the 117-year-old section of the building will allow for 18,000 square feet of multi-tenant space — from dining to offices — in downtown Braselton. The space, which originally served as a general country store, has been dubbed, “The 1904,” as a nod to its construction year.
The old mercantile housed a bank and offices and sold dry goods, clothes, gifts, groceries and many more wide-ranging items.
“That building is the most important landmark in Braselton’s history,” Braselton town manager Jennifer Scott said. “ … I love the fact that we’re putting businesses back in that allow people to come back into that space and shop and eat and do business.”
Renovations began in late 2020. Tenants will likely begin occupying the historic structure in August, according Scott.
Braselton Downtown director Amy Pinnell used the term “adaptive reuse” when talking about the project.
“It’s taking something that’s old and really finding a new purpose for it, and still keeping that historic integrity of it but making it more useful for today’s market,” Pinnell said.
A gift store and a bakery have already announced plans to locate in the space, according to Pinnell, while a café, wine bar and a home decor business are other possible tenants. Multiple professional offices are said to be going in upstairs.
Pinnell said The 1904 will meet a demand.
“This is going to be great,” she said. “We have so many people reaching out to us wanting to locate their small business here, and we just don’t have space … Knowing that we’ve got this already built, it’s a historic structure, it kind of anchors our downtown, that’s really exciting.”
The space was most recently occupied by an antique mall until the owner passed away in 2020.
The 1904 section of the Braselton Brothers Store block had been the only portion not yet rehabbed by the Braselton Urban Redevelopment Agency (URA) — an effort that began seven years ago with a $400,000 grant.
The Braselton URA is paying for The 1904 renovations out of its reserves. The project will cost an estimated $500,000.
The 1904 space was determined to be “enormously large” to have just one tenant, according to Scott.
“And we had so many different smaller businesses that wanted to be in downtown that it just seemed to make sense to the URA to divide it up,” she said.
The building will feature a central public space and then the multiple business spaces. Scott, who serves as the Braselton URA’s property manager, said the hope was to have tenants moved in this month, but construction material issues — particularly with tile — slowed the renovation process.
She also noted that “it’s tough working on a building that’s 117 years old.”
The refurbishment has included modernizing a building unequipped with heating and air in its top floor. The space required all-new electricity, plumbing and HVAC. Air conditioning units were delivered to the building on Thursday (July 15), according to a Downtown Braselton Facebook post.
“The majority of the cost is in the mechanical functions,” Scott said.
The renovation process has also revealed some gems. Scott said the floors were “gorgeous” and the walls were in good shape. But when the plaster was removed, the brick underneath the plaster "was even more beautiful than the plaster,” Scott said.
“So, we’re leaving a good bit of that," she said.
A grand-opening ceremony for The 1904 is planned once all tenants move in.
“I love seeing it come back to life,” said Scott, who expressed an affinity for old buildings. “The architecture of that section is very, very spectacular … And we’re keeping all of it. Every bit of it.”