Photos by Stephen K. Peeples
When you think of the family business, you don’t always put together bicycles and wine – but in downtown Newhall, the city cut the ribbon Tuesday on a façade project that benefits the brothers Hasper – Roger, who owns Newhall Bicycle Company and Nate, one of the co-owners of Pulchella Wine Tasting Room, businesses that nestle side-by-side in a pale green building on Main Street. (Roger and Nate are pictured at right)
The brothers both rent retail space in a building owned by the Holtzman Family Trust on Main Street near Market Street. It wasn’t initially planned that way, but the celebration was welcomed by both cyclist and vintner.
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“Today the City is celebrating the government pitching in and helping downtown Newhall,” Roger Hasper said. “They completely ripped the front end of the store off and put in a new front end: new glass, new paneling, new awning, new signage, new pillars, even a new door.”
The façade improvement was the first of five projects funded by stimulus money from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Future projects with work underway include the building at 8th Street and Main owned by David and Adrianna Gammert, which houses Magdalay Beauty Supply, Labels and Valencia Bicycle; in the same block, the building housing David’s Café (formerly El Mas) will be re-faced; the Way Station Cafe will receive a facelift and the last project involves the Railroad Café, which is attached to the old courthouse building facing Railroad Avenue at Market Street.
“The property owner got grant money from the city, which the city got from the federal government,” explained Nate Hasper, who owns the Pulchella Wine Tasting Room with Steve Lemley. “We’re here limited hours so we need all of the exposure we can get and I think cleaning up the front and putting new signs up has done that. The city has worked well with us getting the tasting room open and trying to bring more traffic to downtown Newhall.”
Opening a tasting room next to his brother’s bicycle shop proved that downtown Newhall was a good move.
“This was totally random,” Nate explained. “We didn’t design it, this space became available – my brother was already in next door, he took over when the city moved out and then this space became available, it was the right size and the right price, so we pulled the trigger and it works well together.”
“For the tasting room it was a great move; space is cost-effective, people who drink wine are going to seek us out and find us, so I don’t think being in downtown Newhall is hurting us at all,” he continued. “We’re getting people down here that don’t normally come to Newhall, now they realize that it’s safe. We’re here until 10 or 11 at night, knock on wood, we haven’t had any problems.”
Brother Roger chimed in, “No doubt about it, we would not be in business today if we hadn’t moved to downtown Main Street. That’s my full belief. I’ve been a taxpayer for 41 years and have finally seen it come back and help out a local guy. I think it’s awesome.”
Referring to the “character, charm and absolute curb appeal” of Newhall since the advent of redevelopment and urban renewal, Mayor Laurie Ender complimented the teamwork of the property owners, businesses and volunteers who serve on advisory committees such as the Newhall Redevelopment Committee and the Old Town Newhall Association.
“The single biggest thing we can do as a community is to support the success of retail businesses and create environments that are clean, welcoming and provide a sense of place,” she said.
Jasmine Evains of the federal Housing and Urban Development office serves as the Community Planning and Development Representative for LA County.
Evains said that that the city received more than $300,000 in Community Block Grant Recovery Fund money, of which $55,000 was spent on the Newhall Bicycle/Pulchella Winery façade project.
“It’s important for HUD and the federal government to actually let the community know that their money is going to something that is going to stimulate their economy,” she said.
She added that because Santa Clarita has at least 50,000 residents, the city automatically qualified to receive stimulus funding.
With the elimination of redevelopment agencies by the Governor, funding sources are harder to find. Denise Covert, Administrative Analyst in the city’s Economic Development Department said that the city took advantage of the stimulus funding when it became available in 2009.
“The HUD funding was a one-time grant that we received as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act,” she explained. “Once it’s expended, we won’t have the opportunity of tapping into that again.”