Copperstone co-owner Kirk Longmire stands in front of the building, which has undergone a transformation over the past year. - Nancy Kelly, www.kingscountynews.ca
By Nancy Kelly
Berwick’s former Annex building has a new name and a new look.
Purchased by Coldbrook residents Kirk and Melissa Longmire just over a year ago, the heritage and masonry structure has been transformed into a vibrant commercial hub in the downtown core. Now called the Copperstone, it houses several service-oriented businesses, including Longmire’s Dwight Johnson Insurance and a recently-opened coffee roastery and café.
Named after the couple’s business interests, Longmire thinks the new name suits the building’s character and atmosphere.
“Everybody seems to agree,” he said, adding he has received overwhelmingly positive comments about the work that has been completed.
“People are ecstatic to see the old building being used again.”
As part of the extensive renovation process, which included new wiring and new plumbing, the building was “gutted right down to the walls.” The majority of the work has been completed, but there are still some items on Longmire’s to-do list. A small space in the centre of the main building and the upstairs level will be renovated in a future phase as tenants are identified. The roof also needs some attention.
The renovation project wasn’t without its challenges, said Longmire.
“Buildings of this age always have surprises, and this one was no different.”
The Longmires recognized the value and potential of the property when the town put it up for sale in late 2011.
“The building had good bones and it also has so much history and character. And the location is ideal,” said Longmire.
The property has seen many uses over the years since it was built in 1926. It has served as the town hall, the fire hall and, most recently, housed the town’s RCMP detachment. It has also been used by a variety of community groups over the years.
“Preserving that history while upgrading (the building) to take it into the next century was important to us,” explained Longmire, who also believes the renovated building will foster growth in Berwick’s bustling downtown core.
“The town has been superb to work with,” he said, adding decisions made years ago by town council and staff are paying off now for the town, which currently has little vacant commercial space.
Longmire, who serves on Berwick’s Economic Development Committee and is active in the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce, points to Berwick’s investment in the Valley Community Fibre Network and recent installation of Wi-Fi in the downtown as “forwarding thinking” examples of ways the town has positioned itself for prosperity.
Longmire says he and his wife couldn’t be more pleased with the end result of the work.
“We are very glad to be here.”