By SAMANTHA PIDDE
A downtown Mount Carroll building has a new look thanks to the work and "vision" of a Mount Carroll couple.
Alison Lawyer, 29, has operated Just My Style salon for more than eight years, renting a building at the bottom of West Market Street in downtown Mount Carroll Several months ago, she and her husband began looking at new locations for the salon.
"Having rented for eight years, it was time to purchase our own (building)," said her husband, Casey Lawyer, 34.
After looking at several locations, the couple decided to purchase the building at 110 E. Market St. from Randy and Carol Remrey. The transaction occurred Nov. 1, 2019, and Brick Street Vision opened to the public in early December.
The Remreys have owned the building (the former site of Noble’s Red & White Grocery Store) for 14 years. For many years, the space has housed Randy Remrey's business, BSD Printing, as well as Karen Davis' RedGate Embroidery and tuxedo rental business.
Remrey said he was excited when the Lawyers approached him about purchasing the building, saying, "I'm glad a younger couple is coming in.”
Alison said the large storefront was her dream space. The space was primarily just one large room, which housed both RedGate Embroidery and BSD Printing.
"It being a blank canvas, we were able to sit down and create a floor plan which best utilized the space," Alison said.
Raised just around the corner from the building, Alison said it was kind of weird but cool to be working in the former grocery store she visited often as a child.
"I can remember buying groceries and bubble gum," Alison recalled.
Alison said she always had a "vision" of what type of salon she would love to have. The large open space allowed her to design exactly the type of salon she wanted.
"I started putting things to place and it designed itself," said Alison, adding, "Everything just fell into place as it should. It was just meant to be."
Alison said she was thankful for her husband's assistance in building the space. She told him her vision and he used his construction experience to make it a reality.
"He made all my dreams come true," Alison said.
However, she said this dream did not come without hard work. Alison and Casey spent five weeks working day and night remodeling the space. Alison remembers working all day at her salon and then coming to the new location to help with the remodeling until past 10 p.m. As someone used to standing in one place most of the day cutting hair, Alison said the physical labor of renovating the space was somewhat difficult for her.
Casey has worked in construction for 16 years and now has his own company, Casewin Construction. His employees Jake Rodisel and Steven Sanchez worked on the remodeling. The couple also wanted to thank Alison's parents, Curtis and Mary Merkel, as well as numerous volunteers, for assisting with the renovation.
"So, 350 two-by-fours and 140 sheets of drywall later, here we are," Casey said.
Brick Street Visions held its official ribbon-cutting during Mount Carroll's Christmas Walk in December.
The couple took the large open space and separated it into multiple rooms for various uses. RedGate Embroidery remains where it has always been, except with walls separating it from the rest of the space, as well as a separate entrance. BSD Printing has moved into the basement of the building.
The largest space is for Just My Style and JLO Massage. The salon has an open format, with several stations spread across the room for Alison and hair stylist Heather Solomon to use. Shampoo stations and a waxing table (for facial waxing) are further back.
Farther back, two additional rooms were added in the salon. One provides space for Janice Oviatt's JLO Massage clients. The other space is for Alison's sister and nail tech Amelia Simler. This space includes pedicure chairs, a table for manicures and various supplies.
Alison said the salon tries to keep a variety of retail products in stock. She added she wants to be the place people can stop for their special shampoo and other products.
In the back, the couple used what the Lawyers recalled was the grocery store's old "kitchen area" for an employee lounge and office. The space also has children's toys for when their daughters, Bailey, 6, and Ellie, 4, (both currently in school) come to work with their mom.
Construction continues in the back left corner of the building, where the Lawyers are planning a banquet room. Alison and Casey explained that they were unsure what to use that space for until some friends suggested Mount Carroll could use another space for business meetings, reunions and similar events. The couple has been looking for affordable second-hand table sets for the space for the time being and plan to add a small kitchenette to the room.
Casey hopes to have the banquet room completed by early February. Eventually, Oviatt plans to hold yoga classes in the space.
Remrey added that he likes the Lawyers’ decision to split the building into multiple spaces for a number of businesses.
"They have the ability to do it, they have the youth to do it," Remrey said.
Since the ribbon-cutting in December, the Lawyers have received much positive feedback on the project. Alison said many people have stopped by the store just to see what it looks like after all of the changes.
"We are very proud of what we did," Alison said. "We've got a lot of love (from the community)."
Their sign on the front of the building sums up their enthusiasm: Brick Street Visions — People, Passion, Possibilities.
For more information on Just My Style and JLO Massage, people are encouraged to visit both businesses Facebook pages. Salon appointments may be made by calling Alison at 815-990-5311.
For more information on the other businesses in the building, visit http://www.redgateembroidery.com or the BSD Printing Facebook page.