Co-op brewery gives Reidsville opportunity to add flavor to downtown

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REIDSVILLE, N.C. -- Described as a more homegrown city by business owners, the bright colored brick and aluminum shop signs are accents of downtown Reidsville's charm from another time.

"Old fashioned," said Cafe 99 owner Dave Gerrells, describing the atmosphere. "We still sweep our sidewalks every morning."

Gerrells describes the downtown as the heart of any city and he has just become a part of something to bring excitement to the area of his restaurant.

Lucky City Brewing is a co-op microbrewery that started up last year. The city sold a space at 228 Gilmer St. to the craft brew owners for $1. The co-op now has 100 shareholders, including Gerrells, with shares running at $250.

"We're a very eclectic community and we're very proud of it, and this is just one piece that we would love to use to attract more people here," said Mayor Jay Donecker, also a co-owner of the brewery.

"It's going to create life," said local Anne Lane. "My husband actually bought me my membership as a Christmas gift."

Folks say the brewery will put more feet on the street, a mantra often used by Donecker encouraging downtown growth in arts and entertainment.

"I'm thrilled to death that we're gonna have something that we're gonna have a say in as an owner," Lane said.

The building is going to be a joint space. On the first floor you have the home of Lucky City Brewing. The second and third floors will be the new home for the Rockingham County Arts Council and a space for the Theater Guild of Rockingham County.

"Arts and entertainment is whats going to save our downtown, that's true everywhere," Donecker said.

The total project cost is $750,000, so the $25,000 raised by shareholders is a drop in the bucket, but the city will be pursuing grants to help get closer to the goal. The agreement with the city calls for the brewery to be up and running in five years, but Board of Directors President Eric Smith believes it can be done in less than three years.

The Lucky City Brewing website says it will open in 2018.