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Kinsman market has good intentions

Couple open Kinsman shop to help build up the community

KINSMAN — Amy and Floyd Davis searched high, low and in between in Trumbull County for the ideal location to bring to life their passion project, but all roads led back to home.

“Every time we went out of this community, it never felt right,” Amy said. “We love this community and we want this community to get healthy. We started with that, but also Kinsman needed it. Kinsman needed something … a reason for people outside of here to come in again.”

The old Kinsman Town Hall was less than 3 miles from the couple’s home and farm, Red Basket Farm. At nearly 150 years old, the building was in disrepair, to put it kindly. The floor was dirt, its foundation was crumbling and it was being used to store farm equipment.

Yet, the couples said they knew within seconds after stepping foot inside it was where they needed to open Good Intentions Market & Cafe.

MARKET AND CAFE

Good Intentions opened June 11 at the renovated town hall where state Routes 7 and 87 meet north of the square in Kinsman, and features produce grown at the Red Basket Farm on Mayburn Barclay Road for sale and in the cafe’s food offerings. For fruits, the Davises rely on other local, like-minded farmers.

“We wanted a cafe that would feature as many products from the farm as possible, but also have those products available for sale, so folks can come in and get fresh produce,” Floyd said.

The Davises meet with the farm owners that supply the market and cafe and tour the farms. The market carries food items not typically found in Kinsman, but better, more healthy options, Amy said.

To start, the cafe has a limited menu, but there are plans to expand. All the items are scratch-made and there are a handful of vegan offerings and gluten-free breads and muffins. And the state-of-the art kitchen doesn’t have fryers.

“The ideal would be what they call a farm-gate restaurant, which is a restaurant at the farm, but we can’t do that,” Floyd said. “So this is basically the same thing.”

“It is basically the same thing, a true farm-to-table,” Amy said.

Dick Thompson, owner of Heritage Hill Farm next door and historic Peter Allen Inn and Event Center, bought the town hall about 30 years ago. He’s the Davises’ landlord, but the relationship goes much deeper.

Good Intentions, he said, is another piece of the puzzle that makes Kinsman a destination.

“When Floyd and Amy said they had an idea, and the more I listened to the idea, that it would fit right into this food movement, farm to table, we just think they are just getting started,” Thompson said.

THE BUILDING

The building was erected in 1874, less than a decade after the end of the Civil War. Part of the transformation from eyesore to gem was removing the original stone foundation, digging and pouring a new footer and reinstalling the foundation, stone by stone.

To accomplish that, the shell was lifted several feet from the ground a few inches at a time on hydraulic jacks and wooden blocks. To keep the building true and from collapsing while in the air, it was reinforced with beams and trusses.

The 40-by-70-foot building is more than 2,000 square feet. Renovation was done in a way, especially to the exterior, to preserve as much history as possible. A new roof was installed, but the subroof was used to line the walls on the interior. The siding is original and so is the window trim, but new windows were installed. They do, however, mimic the original panes.

A sloped mezzanine that used to contain bleacher seating when the building was used as a one-sided gym was made into a full second floor mezzanine dining area, and possibly in the future an area for small group, private gatherings.

What the contractor, Gilmore Design in Cortland, could save to reuse, it did. The interior also is peppered with historical and antique items, like pieces from a post office, a general store counter and a kid’s work bench.

“Our intent when we looked at the building, our vision — and fortunately everyone felt the same way — was from the outside, we wanted it to look like an 1870s building, but the inside, 21st century. You know, clean, open, bright,” Floyd said. “And Gilmore … they nailed our vision.”

“One-hundred percent, the textures, the wood, the colors,” Amy said.

In addition, the parking lot was enlarged to accommodate vehicles pulling campers and boats heading to nearby Pymatuning Lake. It was designed so they could easily pull off state Route 7 and out on state Route 87.

“That was not there before. It’s these things that when we talked to people, they would say everywhere from Brookfield, probably further than that, all the way to the lake, there is no place for us to pull in,” Amy said. “Those were the things we took into consideration.”

BIGGER PICTURE

Amy grew up in Warren, but Floyd grew up in Hartford and remembers what Kinsman was like.

“It was a thriving, booming little town. There was a lot going on here and over the years you just watched it slowly decline. Over the last 10 years or so, we were like, gosh, I wish somebody would do this, I wish somebody would do that. It was such a shame, gosh, I wish somebody would … then we finally were like, what are we waiting on?” Floyd said.

“We were just like, we’re done talking about it. We really started talking to people in the community and we’re like, we’re just going to do it.”

Good Intentions employs about 24, mostly part-time workers. But it also provides a place for young adults to sit and hang out and not have to drive to Niles or Warren to do so. The market also provides a retail outlet for growers not really wanting their own retail space, and can be a hub for the community for different events.

“Kind of the bigger picture is about community,” Floyd said. “Yeah, it’s about we had wanted to expand our businesses and do more, but really it’s about what can we do for the community to help build it back.”

rselak@tribtoday.com

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