New businesses open in city’s downtown

Joshua Baethge,
The Van Alstyne Leader
From left, Jahron and Gerald Strother and Gerald and Amanda Rutledge co-own the True Value Hardware store that opened earlier this month in Van Alstyne.

This month marks the opening of three new businesses in downtown Van Alstyne.

On June 1, the long-awaited True Value Hardware store opened in a brand new building near the intersection of East Van Alstyne Parkway and North Main Drive.

Co-owner Amanda Rutledge says that the first week went much better than expected.

She has met plenty of customers from Van Alstyne as well as some from Anna, Howe and other nearby cities.

“The main thing that they are saying is ... `You just saved me a trip from going to McKinney or going to Sherman,’” she said.

The store’s opening has been a longtime coming.

Amanda’s husband, Gerald Rutledge, originally wanted to open a feed store. After speaking to the Van Alstyne Community Development Corporation and learning about the need locally for a hardware supplier, the couple decided to go in that direction.

They purchased the property in May 2018. Two months later, Amanda was diagnosed with breast cancer.

After spending the better part of a year fighting the disease, she was declared cancer free. On Feb. 10 of this year, they finally began pouring concrete.

“One we started building, it came quick,” she said.

The Rutledges choose to affiliate with True Value because the company afforded them the flexibility to layout the store exactly as they wanted.

For Gerald Rutledge, that meant offering some feed and an array of hunting products, with more to come later.

There is also a local corner featuring products from area residents. Among them are pickles made by Amanda and her mother, as well as soaps, produce and honey from neighbors. A local girl is even selling hair bows.

The Rutledges are both retired from law enforcement. They will man the store most afternoons while Amanda’s parents and fellow co-owners, Gerald and Jahron Strother, will work most mornings.

Community Development Corporation Director Rodney Williams says that the new store is in a perfect location. It is located near the Railcar Farmers Market and a future city park within easy walking distance of other downtown businesses.

Residents will not have to worry about clogging the streets either since True Value has its own parking lot and plenty of space.

“They’ve really been smart with how they’ve designed it, so I think it’s going to work out really well,” Williams said.

On the other side of downtown, on East Marshall Street, local entrepreneur Kristy Bryant and her business partner, Jim Berrios, are opening a new coffee shop and eatery June 12.

Honeybean will serve coffee and breakfast in the morning. For lunch, it will have soups, sandwiches, salads and a dessert of the day, as well as hand-scooped ice cream.

The businesses will also sell an array of merchandise as well as locally produced jelly and honey.

“We’re trying to keep it local. That’s our goal,” Bryant said.

Attached to the Honeybean will be the new 1873 Event Venue.

According to Bryant, the space will be able to accommodate any event up to 100 people. Its name is a nod to the year that Van Alstyne was founded.

Bryant bought the building several years ago on a handshake agreement with John Houx, who oversaw a hardware store there for many years. He’d purchased the building from the owners of Veazey Hardware, a business that dated back to the 1920s.

Bryant spent six months remodeling the original building, restoring its original wood floors and tin ceiling while installing new electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. The original Veazey Hardware signed will now be displayed inside Honeybean. She also kept the original Veazey safe.

Bryant initially planned to open the event space a few years ago. However, the timing wasn’t right.

She began experiencing health problems culminating with a stroke in January 2019. She took some time to recover before proceeding with any business plans.

Last October, Berrios and his wife, Amy, called and said that they wanted to open a coffee and sandwich shop. It was an idea they said that God put in their hearts.

Bryant felt the idea and the timing were both divinely inspired.

“The town of Van Alstyne is ready for this,” she said. “It’s something new and different and fresh.”

Honeybean, a coffee shop and eatery, is scheduled to open June 12 in downtown Van Alstyne.