The history of the grocery building is a work in progress. Come back at a later time to learn more!
1903 - Bourne Grocery
1909 - Regan Grocery
1920 - Greening Grocery
1930 - Red & White Grocery
1940 - Columbia Grocery
1960 - Chessmore Upholstery
1998 to PRESENT - Bean Engineering dba B3PE
When purchased by the current owners in 1999, the building was being used by Gerald O'Connor as storage for various items and was actually condemned by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department. The City was threatening to demolish it.
It took about two years to get through the permit process and complete the full restoration of building.
The Grocery building presently serves as the world headquarters of B3PE, a firm specializing in providing engineering and software services to the natural gas industry. Their products are used worldwide.
The Grocery building was built in about 1902. It first shows up in the Colorado Springs City Directory in 1903 as the Bourne Grocery Co. For much of its life the building served as a neighborhood grocery store for the nearby community.
The main portion of the building is of masonry brick construction. A rear section of wood construction was added sometime after the original construction. The rear section had an indoor bathroom and was likely used for inventory storage. The main section contained a Butcher's Box and the public portions of the store.
During the early days, the Atchison Topeka & Sante Fe (AT&SF) Railroad passed caddy corner across the site where the building is located. The northeast corner of building was originally built on a diagonal and served as the building front. The store front faced and was aligned with the railroad. Sometime later the building was "squared up" and the current store front was added.
The building fell into disrepair and misuse in the 1960's and beyond. It began to deteriorate from neglect. When the building was purchased by Bradley and Cheryl Bean in 1999 it was condemned and in danger of being demolished. Over the next two years, the building was completely renovated and restored. Essentially the only portions of the building that could be salvaged were the outside four walls of the main structure.
A Butcher's Box (a specialized type of ice box) was located in the back corner of the main section of the building. This box was a 6 ft x 8 ft thick-walled wooden structure insulated with cork. The original box was cooled by block ice and used to store meat and dairy products. Refrigeration was ultimately added to original box.
The box had a walk-in door for stocking product, a small door for loading the ice, and a pair of glass doors on the front panel for public access.
This box was manufactured by a company in Denver, Colorado.
The front of the original box is currently used as a partition in the renovated office.
Red & White stores were independent grocery stores in small towns. The company did centralized buying and distribution for the small stores to allow them to compete against larger chains that were consolidating their power in the 1920s. All members of this group had the words Red & White as part of their names, usually with the owner's name or town name as well. The store started around 1925.
Red & White stores are reportedly still in existence is some small towns in the United States and Canada.
When the Bean's purchased the property in 1999 they did not realize that they were also acquiring all of the issues, feuds, and ill-will associated with the site and operations, both past and present at the time.
Permitting for the renovation of the Grocery building itself presented a challenge. The City and several of its employees had their own ideas about what could and could not be done with the building, and their ideas did not exactly align with the building code, zoning code, or laws of Colorado. Once everyone was re-educated on what the regulations actually allowed, that part of the struggle moved forward allowing renovation to begin.
Then came the issues with the neighbors and neighborhood. It seemed that most appreciated the renovation of the Grocery building but disapproved of the Bean's allowance of Mr. O'Connors' (Jerry's) continued tenancy of the Garage and Station. Many conversations with City officials, the Planning Commision, the City Council, the Fire Department, the Patty Jewett Neighborhood Association (PJNA), and individual neighbors ensued.
Things calmed down a bit with the death of Jerry and the Bean's purchase of a neighboring property but heated up again when the Bean's attempted to purchase and improve the portion of the old AT&SF railroad right-of-way which cut across the corner of the site. The PJNA rose up in full force to block the purchase. The Bean's eventually succeeded in the purchase and then faced another barrage of resistance and protest from the PJNA as they attempted to get the development plan for the newly acquired site approved. The Bean's eventually prevailed, and the corner of Corona and Columbia Streets was improved as it exists today.
Unfortunately, much time, energy, and expense were unduly spent and wasted in the whole process.