Downtown Renewal

Revitalization of Vevay’s historic
Grisard Building gives it new life

Several shops to merge
into one in new building

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

VEVAY, Ind. – It’s back. Since the 1830s, the Vevay, Ind., building at 217 Ferry St., has served its community as a hardware store, veteran’s club, youth meetinghouse and even the Switzerland County, Ind., courthouse for a spell. Now the historic Grisard Building has been renovated and opened as a treasure house filled with original, locally made goods.

Of Switzerland County Grand Opening

Photo courtesy of Kendall R. Miller

State and local agencies were on hand
for a ribbon cutting ceremony kicking
off the grand opening of the Of
Switzerland County store located at
217 Ferry Street in downtown Vevay
on April 29, 2010. They are (from left)
David Attaway, executive director of
the Switzerland County Tourism; Mike
Jones, president, Switzerland County
Council; Kent Abraham, director,
Indiana Landmarks; Sherry Seiwert,
executive director, Indiana Housing
and Community Development
Authority, Ron Otter, president,
Switzerland County Tourism Board
of Directors; Kirk Works, Vevay
Town Board; Tammy Hayes, Treasurer,
Vevay-Switzerland Foundation; Pam
Acton, executive director, Community
Foundation of Switzerland County.

“Of Switzerland County” held its grand opening on April 29. More than 200 people, including Indiana state tourism officials attended the event.
In 2007, Switzerland County Tourism was selected as one of three pilot communities to receive a grant for over $333,000 from the Real Estate Capital Access Program, part of Indiana Lieutenant Gov. Becky Skillman’s program that assists with revitalization projects in rural areas. The former Grisard Building, as it has been known for decades and is now the “Of Switzerland County” store, is one of the projects that benefited from this program.
The new store is actually part of the “Visions of Switzerland County” the county tourism office implemented several years ago. Part of the project’s mission was to revitalize the historic buildings in downtown Vevay and providing incentives for private businesses to open. Four concept stores, The Mercantile, Signatures of Switzerland County, Amish Goods of Switzerland County and Antiques and Treasures, were all opened through the Visions Project. Now, they are all being combined into one retail space, Of Switzerland County, so that private businesses can take over the former locations.
“The stores were meant to be place holders to prove retail could make it in downtown Vevay,” said Angie Satterfield, Visions Project Coordinator for Switzerland County Tourism. “There are lots of ideas and creativity happening within the community by the private sector, so we felt it was time to bring our stores together under one fantastic roof and let others open.”
She said people have come into the Of Switzerland County excited that the building has found a new use. “People call it the building that won’t go away, and they are thrilled it’s back. You wouldn’t believe how many stories we’ve heard about what this building means to people and how their lives intertwine with it.”
The new store will feature handcrafted items and original artwork by local artisans. Artwork includes everything from prints to upscale sculpture and paintings. A variety of custom-made goods, crafts and food items, including locally produced honey, jams and jellies, will be available as is original pottery and woodworking. The store will feature artists of the month, live demonstrations and musicians, and eventually Amish made goods, antiques and collectibles will be added to the selection.
Currently, only the Mercantile and the Signatures of Switzerland County have been bundled into the building. The other two stores should eventually relocate unless they are sold outright. Antiques and Treasures has had a lot of interest from potential buyers said Satterfield, and if someone wants to buy it, terms can be negotiated.
Many of the buildings along Vevay’s Main Street are actually for sale, including the former Phoenix Hotel Building that houses the tourism office. That building has unused apartment space on the top two floors. “We are keeping all options open and trying to do what makes the most sense for our community,” said David Attaway, Executive Director of Switzerland County Tourism. “We understand that private business is what will propel the community forward.”
Along with the RECAP grant awards, several community partners were also involved in the creation of this program, including Local Initiatives Support Corp. and Historic Landmarks of Indiana. A site team was created with representatives from each of those partners, as well as IHCDA, Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and the Office of Tourism.
Local support was also provided by the following local organizations: Switzerland County Government, Switzerland County Tourism, Switzerland County Economic Development Corporation, The Community Foundation of Switzerland County, the Town of Vevay, and the Vevay-Switzerland County Foundation.
Other local businesses and organizations that benefited by RECAP grant funds include: The American Legion, Community Foundation, the Courthouse Project, Cuzz’s Bar, Danner’s Hardware, Grisard Building, Haskell Morrison Funeral Home, Life on the Ohio History, Museum, Switzerland County Museum, Los Bandidos Restaurant & Grill, MainSource Bank, Phoenix Hotel, Ferry Street Woodworks, Riverhouse, Roxano’s, Schenck Mansion, Shell’s Ice Cream & Grill, former Sinclair Garage, Switzerland County Museum, Switzerland County Historical Society, and the Vevay United Methodist Church.

• For more information about Of Switzerland County, call (812) 427-2445. For information about purchasing any of the buildings contact Switzerland County Tourism at (812) 427-3237.

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