AUBURN — The three-story brick building at the corner of Genesee and William streets will go from blouses to beers when it becomes the new home of The Good Shepherds Brewing Co. this summer.
Brewer and President Garrett Shepherd, under It's a Great Life LLC, purchased the 132 Genesee St. Goss Building from Sheila (Mary) Barrera for $180,000, the Cayuga County Clerk's Office said. The building was last assessed at $278,400 in 2016.
Sheila and Frank Barrera opened the PBJ on the Corner women's clothing store on the first floor of the Goss Building in 1974 after operating the Imported Knitware Shop on Clark Street since 1959. They ran PBJ until Frank passed away in 2012. Meanwhile, the building's upper floors served as offices for unions like New York State United Teachers and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Shepherd said he and his father, Bob, began talking with the Barrera family about buying the Goss Building in early 2016 on the advice of the Downtown Auburn Business Improvement District and the Cayuga Economic Development Agency. After going over the 1960 building's history, pricing and ability to host Garrett's microbrewery operations, the Shepherds closed on it in late March.
Garrett said he hopes to have Good Shepherds up and running on the building's first floor by July 1. He'll remove PBJ's lime carpet and replace it with a wooden floor, and strip away the drop ceiling to reveal the patterned tin above it. Parts of the ceiling will require patching due to the removal of a wall at some point in the building's history, Garrett said.
One bitterly cold January afternoon, Joe Shelton and Mark Grimaldi walked into Prison City Pub & Brewery with some concerns.
In the center of what was PBJ's showroom will be the new Good Shepherds bar: a 24-tap horseshoe that Garrett hopes to fill with his own beers, but probably a guest tap or two as well.
"I'd like to be able to keep as much of my beer on as I can," he said. "I have some experimental beers and other different ones that I'd love to put out but I can't, because I don't have the taps."
As Garrett goes from 1,250 square feet at his current 31 Loop Road location to 2,900 on the first floor of the Goss Building, he's eyeing a similar upgrade to his 2.5-barrel brewing system. Hoping to fill four times as many taps, supply kegs to regional bars, continue contract brewing for the Boathouse Beer Garden in Romulus and even begin canning, he's thinking 10 barrels, he said.
In the interest of opening the new location of Good Shepherds promptly, though, Garrett will simply move his current brewing system there to start. He'll also add bathrooms, rearrange the walls to the rear of the showroom and try to install two art deco windows he found inside the building.
Prioritizing the first floor also means Garrett hasn't quite decided what to do with the Goss Building's other ones, which total about 6,000 square feet. He'll use the mostly unfinished basement to clean kegs and other brewery operations, but will likely develop the second and third floors as commercial and residential spaces, respectively.
The building will need either a new roof or extensive patching, window replacement and other repairs, Garrett said. He's talking with CEDA Business Development Specialist Maureen Riester about funding channels, which she said Garrett could find in the form of the CNY Regional Economic Development Council, historic tax credits or the city's Small Business Assistance Program.
Riester said Good Shepherds will bring "a lot of new life back to that corner," and Paula Barrera, daughter of Sheila and Frank, said Garrett is "an upstanding guy and I think he'll do very well there."
Indeed, Garrett said the Goss Building's visibility in downtown Auburn motivated his purchase. However, he also reassured fans of the current Good Shepherds that its new location will retain the character — as well as the Blueberry Pilsner, Imperial Chocolate Stout and other beers — that has won them over since the brewery opened in September 2014.
"We wanted to find a new space but make it as homey and nice as our current space," he said. "We're really glad to have that out of the way and looking forward."