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Video to promote renovation of Willmar hub for local foods

More than 60 people stand Friday in front of The HUB in downtown Willmar to wave at the camera-toting drone shooting a video to promote the renovation of the building where a brew house and restaurant are proposed, along with other food-related businesses. The video will be used in a national Kickstarter campaign and also presented to other grant-making organizations. (Tribune photo by Rand Middleton)1 / 2
Michael Moyers of Just Rite Design, of Willmar, guides a multi-rotor drone, named the Phantom, off the sidewalk Friday to shoot video of a crowd gathered across the street in front of the historic building to be renovated to create The HUB for local foods. (Tribune photo by Rand Middleton)2 / 2

WILLMAR — More than 60 beer aficionados, eatery patrons, lovers of locally grown food and others gathered for an outdoor video shoot at noon Friday to promote The HUB, the site of a proposed downtown brew house, restaurant and other food-related businesses.

The video that Michael Moyers, owner of Just Rite Design of Willmar, will produce will be used in a national Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to help complete renovation of The HUB site.

The HUB will be located in a historic downtown building that was purchased from The Barn Theatre in May by a partnership of Willmar Downtown Development (formerly Willmar Design Center) and the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

Decades ago the building was the site of a drug store and jewelry store and in recent years stored props for the The Barn. The 8,000-square-foot interior space is cleared, the roof is repaired and the building is ready for further renovation.

The partners have named the art deco building Historic 313 on Fourth Street.

“The structural integrity of the building is great,’’ said business consultant Jeffrey Madsen with The Logan Business Consulting Group Inc., of Willmar. “It’s actually a neat building. There’s a lot of history behind this.’’

Willmar Downtown Development contracted with Madsen, a downtown supporter, to draw up The HUB’s complex business plan.

He explained that The HUB will be a location for food-related businesses. The businesses include the Foxhole Brewhouse, which will sell locally produced craft beer, and a restaurant, plus a couple of other businesses.

The HUB will have a commercial kitchen owned by an individual just completing culinary school, Madsen said. The commercial kitchen “will be neat for the community’’ because it will have the latest technology for flash-freezing produce such as berries for sale during the winter months. The interior will have an open concept to allow people to see food preparation.

“We’re making progress,’’ Madsen said. “Since the plan has touched a lot of different hands, I’ve been getting calls from across the country because we’re doing this a little differently than some other food hubs where there’s incubator businesses involved in this, too. It’s been a neat project.’’

Madsen also said it’s been great to work with everybody downtown, including Beverly Dougherty, project coordinator with Willmar Downtown Development.

She organized the video shoot, along with her son, Jason, who posted the event on Facebook to attract the interest of younger participants.

The project is being financed by private funds and grants. Dougherty will present the video to grant-making organizations that want to know who is involved and if a project has local support.

“And I think the photo shoot today shows that we do,’’ Dougherty said.

Moyers lined participants up in front of Historic 313 and had them wave while he flew a helicopter-mounted video camera over, around and above them for about 10 minutes or so.

Afterward, he took a wide shot of the interior, which will meld into an an architect’s rendering of what the space will look like.

Besides being presented to Kickstarter, the video will be shown during the downtown Holidaze parade and celebration Nov. 22 and will be presented on WRAC 8, said Moyers.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150