What was an eyesore and detraction in downtown Three Rivers for many years is now a thing of beauty and the headquarters for a local business that has helped to construct and restore a number of buildings in the community for more than a decade.
The old granary at 110 West Street – once the home of the Three Rivers Co-op elevator – now houses Brussee/Brady, Inc. The company, established in 1997, completed the move of its operations to the new location in late May.
Owner Tom Brady is a member of the Board of Directors of the Three Rivers Industrial Development Authority (TRIDA), the Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA) that oversees development of the Three Rivers Area Enterprise Park on the southwest side of the city. He hosted the July meeting of the TRIDA Board last week in the building’s conference room and provided fellow board members with a tour of the facility. Brady also participated in a post-meeting interview with Bruce Snook of the River Country Journal and shared information on which this story is based.
Brady explained that his company acquired the building from the City of Three Rivers nine years ago through an agreement that outlined expectations by the city for improvements to the structure over a period of time. He said the business started utilizing the building soon after taking possession of the property and “re-skinning” the “lean-to.” At that point, the facility came into use for such things as truck maintenance, equipment maintenance, storage and a workshop.
Brady said the building, which was vacant and unused for many years, required “years and years of just cleanup and making it safe.” Over time, additional work was done – as money was available – to transform the structure into what now houses the entire business. (Tom_Brady_audio clip – :34)
Brady said, “We have all of our equipment here. We have a yard in the back. We have offices on the second floor. We have a tool room on the first floor. We have shop bathrooms, office bathrooms. We have, basically, a headquarters. Now all we need is a good economy and work.”
Brady said, “We are really happy to be here,” although “it’s a bit anti-climactic” since, after the many years of work on the project, the economy is at the “lowest point that I recall in my life right now.” He added, “It’s a difficult time right now and you don’t want to move to your new offices and struggle to find work. But the good thing is that we were prudent about spending. We spent a lot of money. I don’t really have regrets that we did that – spending the amount of money that we did, but we did it in a fashion that was a little bit at a time.”
When asked what attracted the company to the building, Brady said, “We wanted a base in Three Rivers that we wanted to be able to build from. The city had an eyesore down on West Street that they wouldn’t have minded having cleaned up. With the city needing to get rid of the property, we saw that we could use the drive-thru. We saw that we could use the first floor, possibly could do something with the second floor and, actually, it was a nice point in Three Rivers that, if it was useable, it would serve as a good base.”
Brady points with pride to the entry area, staircase and metal railing that incorporates an outline of the granary building as well as some buildings in downtown Three Rivers, many of which Brussee/Brady has helped to restore over the last ten years. The railing also includes the “BB”logo for Blue Bell feeds, a brand sold by the Three Rivers Co-op, a logo that conveniently reflects the Brusee/Brady name. And, adding another meaningful touch, the bottom of the lower railing features a number of hammers, symbolizing the construction work done by the company.
Brady said, “Everything was supposed to be a showpiece to show people in the community what we can do here at Brussee/Brady. . . . We did a lot to show off our talents here and we’re just hoping that it pays off.” (Tom_Brady_audio clip – 2:02)
Regarding the project, Brady said, “It’s been something that we can be proud of. We know that people in the community . . . are happy to see it done up in a fashion that it’s no longer a threat or an eyesore to area residents, especially children, so we are proud to be here, proud of what we accomplished. Now we’re just hoping for the best that we are able to continue to work.”
To hear the entire interview with Tom Brady, click here – (11:34 – 10.5 MB).