SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Sheri Perkins and Renee Textor have always dreamt of owning a restaurant together. Once they saw the abandoned Springfield mill off Chestnut Expressway was for sale, they knew they had to buy it.
“We were like, no way could this be available,” Renee Textor said. “It was very important for us to be kind of midtown. This area is really close to our hearts and also just the college life that’s around. It’s just going to be a fun place to have a place.”
Perkins and Textor have lived in Springfield all of their lives. They remember driving by the old mill as kids.
“I feel like this has just been abandoned and kind of dead for so long,” Sheri Perkins said. “It’s all concrete and there’s graffiti literally from the bottom to the top. Just to bring life to that is really exciting.”
Right now, the sisters are working with architects on plans for the restaurant, which they say will be built in the grass with the mill as the backdrop.
“Maybe someday in phase two, [we will] do something with the actual mill,” Textor said. “But for now, we’re just wanting to do the property and use it as a new build for our restaurant and retail space.”
Across town, there are several historic buildings being repurposed into something new.
“People like to tap into that feeling of history,” said John Sellars with the History Museum of the Ozarks. “Many of these buildings, the structure of them is so sound and so sturdy that you can redo the inside of them or even some of the exterior and have a much more solid building than some of the newer construction.”
Sellars said the History Museum used to be a men’s clothing store. A fire burnt down the building in 1913. Sellars said it was rebuilt back in 1920, and later sold and turned into a bar for 50 years.
“Everything in this building had asbestos in it,” Sellars said. “The only things that were left were anything metal that would be that you could clean. Like these railings, these wonderful railings that go around the mezzanine here are original to the building. And we repurposed them and colored them. Then they they were too short to meet the new building codes for the height of the railing, so we had to add a base on to them and so on to make them into the ride height for for the business.”
As for the abandoned mill, Perkins and Textor say once all the plans are finalized, they will be ready to break ground on the restaurant.