In its heyday, the Braselton Bros. Department Store was a one-stop locale for grub, gossip and material wares.
Save for one lone tenant, the 18,000-square-foot space has sat dormant since the 1970s, a mere whisper of its glory days of yore. That’s all going to change in the coming weeks as the revitalized storefront on Ga. Highway 53 prepares to open for business as The 1904.
According to Braselton’s town manager and clerk Jennifer Scott, the multi-tenant mercantile will house eight brand-new businesses: Flourish Taproom; a restaurant that, still to be named, shares its ownership with Local Station and Jacks Public House; Sugar n’ Proof; Carden Records; a joint independent bookstore and art gallery still to be named; Inner Nerd, a comic book and collectibles store; an office space for Atlanta Development Company; and Doe a Deer Interiors, which is currently open to patrons by appointment.
“We needed more variety in our retail downtown, and I’m excited that we’re getting that,” Scott said. “I think by January everyone, hopefully, will be open,” Scott said.
According to Scott, the bakery and taproom are working to obtain the necessary health department and U.S. Department of Agriculture permits to officially open their doors. When each of the tenants establish their regular business hours, The 1904 will set its own, opening each day with the first tenant to light up the “Open” sign and closing when the last tenant heads home for the night.
These updates will come via the mercantile’s Facebook page, Scott said.
Upon opening, The 1904 will also house the town’s heritage center, according to Scott.
While the moniker and tenants are new, the 117-year-old space has retained some of its original features, including the molding, wood flooring and interior brick that was uncovered during renovations.
“Everything old is new again,” Scott said. “If you talk to people that grew up here, they will tell you that, in the 50s and 60s, it was the place to go if you wanted to buy anything. They sold absolutely everything — it was a grocery store, it was a hardware store, there was a shoe store, there was clothing, you could even buy your casket there.”
Inside, the shops surround a centralized community living room; outfitted with sofas, tables and chairs, a TV and 5G Wi-Fi, the space is designed for patrons to gather with friends, catch the Saturday football game or change up their workspace if they typically clock in at home.
“We’re hoping it creates a central gathering space for people who are looking to meet in downtown (Braselton) before they go out to spend money in our businesses, because it’s really all about economic development,” Scott said.