Brewer needs a new home

Former Dream Shop off the table for mead pub

LISBON –The honey wine microbrewery planned for South Market Street is apparently no more, at least at that location.

Philip Campbell was going to open a honey wine, or mead, brew pub at 135 S. Market St. but the building was sold in late August by Zach Paxson to Ben Dickey of Lisbon, who has begun remodeling the building but currently has no lease agreements.

The Journal reported in June that Campbell obtained a zoning permit to open the microbrew in the former Motorcycle Dream Shop storefront. Campbell told the Journal in June he hoped to be brewing sometime in August and open to the public by fall.

After learning the building was going to be sold, Campbell said he contacted the new owner, but the proposed rent was higher than Paxson was going to charge him, so he has begun looking at other vacant storefronts in town.

“I’m trying to get to Ohio this weekend to look around … Eventually it will happen,” he said.

Campbell and his family are originally from East Palestine but he now lives in Buffalo, but that may change because of his job. He and his father have purchased a home in town they are fixing up, and they had been planning to come down on weekends to remodel their half of the Motorcycle Dream Shop storefront. Paxson, who is a contractor, at one time was contemplating opening a kitchen cabinet business in the other half.

Campbell said he is surprised by the number of property owners in downtown Lisbon who are not interested in renting their chronically vacant buildings, although that is not the case with the Motorcycle Dream Shop building. At last count, there were 22 vacant storefronts, with only four listed for lease or sale.

Even if the landlords were interested in seeking renters, many of the vacant buildings are in poor condition, which makes it difficult to find a suitable location for his brew pub without having to spend a small fortune on remodeling.

“It has taken me nearly two years to find a storefront and only 15 days to get a federal (honey wine) permit,” Campbell said.

In February, village council passed a new law requiring downtown property owners with vacant buildings make some effort to lease or sale the building, or face being fined. So-called “friendly warning” letters were only recently mailed to property owners, with enforcement expected to follow.