Moving Out

Owners of Fillin’ Station Liquors,
A to Z Lawn vacated

State takes their land to build road
from bridge to Main Street

(April 2019) – Along the Indiana approach to the Milton-Madison Bridge stand several businesses that have been affected by the implementation of Project 421 and the impending construction to build a new bridge approach in Madison, Ind. The businesses in the pathway of construction have been taken by eminent domain and are required to change locations in order to comply with Project 421.
Two of those businesses, Fillin’ Station Liquors and A to Z Lawn Care, are locations laden with stories and history that will soon have nothing left to show for their existence but memories.
John and Elizabeth Kinman of Vevay, Ind., purchased Fillin’ Station Liquors on June 2, 2011, from Tom Woodburn, who had operated the business since 1986. The Kinmans were unsure who the original owner of the liquor store was but said it had quite an impact on the surrounding area.

Photo by Patti Watson

John and Libby Kinman pose at MadTown Liquors, where they moved their business after having to sell their Fillin’ Station Liquors store to make way for the new Indiana bridge approach roadway in Madison, Ind.

“Someone had the brilliant idea to put a liquor store at the end of a bridge that led to a dry county,” said John Kinman. Long before the building became a liquor store, it operated as a gas station in the late 1940s and early 1950s and eventually became a car lot. Prior to that in the 1800s, the building housed a tannery.
Albert Powers of Vevay, Ind., meanwhile, opened A to Z Lawn Care in June 1984. “When I started, I had half a dozen shelves in the building,” said Powers. He continued working to add product lines, renovate the building and expand his customer base to build the thriving business he has today.
Powers said that A to Z Lawn Care was located in one of the oldest buildings in that part of Madison and guesses that it was built in the early 1900s. From 1976 until Powers’ ownership, the building housed a soft-serve ice cream shop that was part of a family business owned by his future father-in-law. “The building goes back a long way,” said Powers.
Both of these businesses are in the direct pathway of the new bridge approach, which will require demolition of the locations that contained a large portion of the owners’ lives. The Kinmans continued running Fillin’ Station Liquors until they were required to close. The Kinmans said that after receiving a letter from the State of Indiana, they were instructed to vacate their business by March 6. They moved out of Fillin’ Station Liquors on the last day of February and moved everything to MadTown Liquors, which they purchased at 202 E. Second St.
“The building was taken by eminent domain, so they needed us out.” According to the Kinmans, demolition will start in April. “The road to the new bridge approach will go flat through where the liquor store is,” said John Kinman.
Along with the impending knowledge of moving, the Kinmans and Powers also faced a lack of information regarding when they would be required to move. “We didn’t know how to plan because we really didn’t know what was going on,” said Elizabeth Kinman. The State’s timeline on the bridge approach project was unknown to the Kinmans and the other business owners near the bridge. 

Albert Powers

“We originally thought we could have an extension through Memorial Day. The meetings about the new approach stopped around two years ago, so we didn’t know what was happening,” said John Kinman.
Powers said that he was made aware of new approach project several years ago and said that it slowed his growth pattern because he knew a move was coming. “I was really in a period of limbo before knowing anything. My first knowledge of eminent domain was in March 2018, when I was first informed that they would be taking my property. I didn’t know until October what assets I would be receiving,” he said, noting that he wishes there had been more openness and information provided by the State throughout the process.
Both the Kinmans and Powers have found new homes for their businesses in order to continue making a living. The Kinmans opened MadTown Liquors in Madison a year ago, after buying the former Ken-Del Liquors location from Ken and Marilyn Volz, who had operated it since 1971.
“We knew the move was coming, and we needed somewhere to go,” said John Kinman.

Photo by Don Ward

Work began in late March to clear the trees and brush leading from behind Fillin’ Station Liquors and past A to Z Lawn Care, up to Hwy. 56 in Madison, Ind.

Powers is just now settling into his new location at 5593 E State Rd. 56 in Vevay, Ind. “I was told in November that I had 30 days to move, but I didn’t have a place located,” he said. Powers said that the State was willing to work with him and allowed him to have an eviction extension three times while he sought to find a new location. “I finally located and acquired a building on Jan. 11,” he said.
Powers officially opened shop at the end of March but said that he still had a lot of unpacking and settling in to do. “It’s been difficult but not unbearable,” he said. “All in all, I’ve found that most of my customers have stuck with me. We might be a little further away, but we’re still giving the same good service.”
The Kinmans noted the personal struggle this move has brought. “It’s definitely taken an emotional toll,” said Elizabeth Kinman. The Kinmans have been married for 29 years, and Elizabeth said that the years of owning the store have been some of their happiest years together. “It’s hard to give that up,” she said. 
Despite this upheaval, the Kinmans haven’t lost hope. “We will be re-opening somewhere along the new corridor. Tell people to look for Fillin’ Station Liquors Too,” said John Kinman.

Powers echoes the Kinman’s sentiments. “I’ve worked hard at trying to stay positive through this. I’m not happy, but I don’t want to stand in the way of progress. I just want to see progress.”

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