After a three month construction process that started in early July and ended in early October, Collage Saint James, has a new beginning to their business.
The collage is under the St. James Grand Opera House, and had slowly received grants to update their building. The space was placed on U.S. Historic Registry in December of 2009.
The new beginning is, in fact, a look of the past, with the building going back to its original appearance when it was built in 1892.
Now, like back in the old days, the building is much more inviting. There is no awning that cuts off displays and limits what a potential customer can see.
“It’s definitely more inviting, not that is wasn’t inviting before,” said Karen Altenburg, owner of Collage Saint James. “People just can’t believe how it looks.”
Now, with the entire top row of windows free, passersby can take a full glance at what the collage has to offer.
“People are loving it,” said Altenburg “Everybody is just amazed at how it looks. We’ve had people say ‘This store should be in the Metro’ on the beauty of how it looks.”
The project did not go without its hiccups.
The project was scheduled to start in May, but Altenburg wanted to push the start back until after Railroad Days.
Through discussions of who was going to pay for the removal of unexpected material within the building and the damaging of a glass pane, the project continued.
Despite the delays, just knowing that a new face of the building would be complete, kept Altenburg motivated.
“It was a good feeling and we knew there was something great ahead for us.”
The original projected completion date was in early September, but the construction wasn’t complete until October. “
That last month really got dragged out,” said Altenburg. “Everyday we were coming in and thinking today would be a big step in the process of completion.”
Finally, through all the delays and troubles, the new start of Collage Saint James was ushered in.
“When it was finally done, it was a huge relief to me,” said Altenburg. “It was a feeling I can’t describe. It’s been humbling to see the positive response from people.”