The former Hill Drug Co. building now has a breath of fresh air after sitting vacant for about a year.
Interior designer Wesley Cadle has opened his retail center in the Summerville store on the corner of Monte Sano and Central avenues. Hill Drug closed in July 2012 after being in business since 1932.
Cadle said he jumped at the chance to shift his lifestyle store from its former spot just down the street at 1419 Monte Sano Ave., which is now occupied by The Purple Cow yogurt shop.
The move has tripled Cadle’s space to about 3,300 square feet and expanded his showroom of custom and retail bedding, and bath and home decor. The building also be Cadle’s main hub for his interior decorating and event planning services.
Interior renovations began in June, and the building was essentially gutted. Cadle said he is in the process of purchasing the building.
“I didn’t want to destroy what was here,” Cadle said. “I wanted to really bring back the historic value of the space.”
Once work began inside, Cadle said he was pleasantly surprised to discover that hidden above the pharmacy’s dated tile ceiling panels was a tin ceiling, which was restored. Work also included new flooring and fresh paint.
“It was interesting to come in and just do some excavating,” Cadle said. “The building was really in disrepair, but there was a lot left in the attic. We found original floor plans up in the attic.
“Old prescriptions, old checks from the ’60s, old bins and stuff like that. Those were things that were there that’s been kind of fun to find.”
It was important, Cadle said, to keep the facade’s art deco appearance intact.
The building’s exterior stucco walls have been repainted and are awaiting new awnings, and the old Hill Drug sign has been donated by the previous owners to a local museum, he said.
“We had decided we wanted the building and then we really had a hard time getting it,” Cadle said.
“There were a number of
people in line that were interested in coming here.”
Among those with a vested interest in the space was Eddie Peden, who sought a parking variance in February to put a bar and grill on the property.
Augusta planning commissioners, however, denied the request on the basis that the area lacked adequate on-street parking.
Peden has since said he plans to take his concept to another community.
Cadle plans to address any parking concerns by adding a lot in the back. Because the neighboring business, Sheehan’s Irish Pub, differs in hours of operation, Cadle said he doesn’t foresee any major parking issues.