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Mercantile Building

The Beatrice Mercantile Building is expected open later this year, with a brewery as its first tenant.

SCOTT KOPERSKI, Beatrice Daily Sun

BEATRICE — An old building is finding new life in downtown Beatrice following the announcement of a new tenant in the Mercantile Building at 301 Court St.

Even though renovations are ongoing, it was announced this week that Stone Hollow Brewing Company will be the first business to operate from the location in 30 years.

Todd and Soni Hydo own the building and are partners in the brewery.

They envision the brewery having up to 12 locally produced beers on tap, with outdoor seating for customers.

The couple has owned the building for about two years and had the idea to open a brewery when they bought the building.

“I brewed beer on my own for years, and word got out that I did,” Todd Hydo said. “One of the other partners said, ‘Would you like to go in on a brewery?' We are the largest population in Nebraska that does not have a microbrewery, so I said why not.”

More details will be announced at a later date, ahead of the anticipated winter opening.

And while the brewery will anchor the building, Todd Hydo added it will use a fraction of the space. The rest of the building will be available for other businesses to rent, and he hopes one of them will be a restaurant that could partner with the brewery.

The building dates to 1876, and once housed a saloon on one side of the main floor and a clothing store on the other, with apartments and boarding rooms upstairs, according to Soni Hydo.

In 1903, it was sold and became the E.S. Stevens Wholesale Grocery store. In the 1960s, the building was converted to a motorcycle shop. It has been unoccupied since the 1980s.

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The couple is resurrecting the building’s former name, once again referring to it as the Beatrice Mercantile Building.

The main floor, upstairs and basement will all be in use once the renovation is complete.

While the building is being brought up to modern standards, including changes to meet accessibility requirements, Todd Hydo said the property will maintain its charm, complete with red bricks and old timber.

“Most breweries start with a brand-new building and it’s much easier to do, but you don’t get the look and aesthetics of an old building like this,” he said. “To me, it’s just somewhere you’d want to sit and have a beer in. It’s got that feel to it.”

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