It’s the dream of any business owner in a small town: keep the people shopping locally.
For one Millstadt man, the goal is just that. Lee Vogel, who may be most known in the region for being part owner of Lee’s Home Center, has set out on a new mission to bring new businesses to Millstadt.
He’s been working on what he’s called the “Millstadt Market Place,” a retail space next to Lee’s Home Center that offers anywhere from 1,200 square feet to 21,600.
Currently, Mariachi’s and Grandpa Luke’s Deli have spots in the market place, with plenty of room for more businesses.
“It started with the idea of offering first class space for small businesses to locate and grow in Millstadt,” he said. “No one was providing that kind of space where a small businessperson could just have a spot that’s ready to be moved in to.”
He said his goal is to retain more people to spend money in Millstadt and offer more products in town.
Vogel started accumulating the property needed for the market place in 2004.
“There have been a fair share of hiccups,” he said.
Vogel initiated negotiations to keep Dollar General in town and got that contract in place.
He got their building built and began working on the self-storage, which transitioned from personal use to being rented out farther down the road.
Then, the market place space was built.
“The biggest challenge from 2004 until now has been the way products have changed in their distribution through Internet growth,” he said. “The original concept was to see more products come in to town, but now I think it’s going to be more about the services.”
Mariachi’s and Grandpa Luke’s are doing very well, and Dollar General has been doing well right next door, too.
He’s currently talking to a couple of other possible tenants who are service-based as well.
He said he would also love to see a nail salon and another food or dining opportunity in the market place.
“I would love to have another smaller restaurant because there’s a drive-up window,” he said. “We currently have the only drive-up window in Millstadt with Grandpa Luke’s.”
The rest is to be figured out, Vogel said, but he’s open to new ideas and new businesses.
“I’m excited that I have the ability to get something like this in place,” he said. “I’m eager for people to take the plunge and explore this opportunity.”
Feedback on this new venture of Lee’s has been good, he said.
“I’ve gotten so many emails and phone calls from people who are thrilled to death that we got more restaurant-type places to come to town,” he said. “Seeing the cars in the parking lot and the patronage, it’s been a home run.”
He said he wanted the facilities and amenities to be on par with that of a larger town or city.
“It’s a first-class center that’s all ready to go,” he said. “I’m looking for more entrepreneurial, driven people to take a risk and start a business model. I have the facilities to accommodate them.”
The addresses for the market place are 601, 705, 709, 717 and 745 West Washington in Millstadt.
To view the site plans, visit www.millstadtmarketplace.com. Contact Vogel for more information at 618-979-2980 or firstname.lastname@example.org.