By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – The frigid weather did not deter dozens of people celebrating the ribbon cutting and open house at Blu-Buck Mercantile, four Main Street buildings that encompass almost an entire block of Main Street that were renovated by historic preservation enthusiast Kagan Coughlin.
Mayor Larry Hart cut the ribbon in an upstairs apartment with the large crowd circling the room around building owners Coughlin and his wife, Alexe van Beuren.
Following the ribbon cutting, Binnie Turnage blessed the completed project, which includes eight apartments and four downstairs retail spaces. Turnage had also asked for God’s blessing on the project on a cold, November day in 2013 as Coughlin prepared to tackle the mammoth job. Coughlin told the group there were no accidents during the 14-month renovation that often included workers in precarious positions.
“We commit these buildings to You, for Your honor and Your glory for the benefit of everyone involved,” Turnage said in prayer.
Mayor Larry Hart then presented van Beuren with the souvenir ribbon.
“We want to thank you guys again for your investment in Water Valley,” Hart told the group. “As Brother Binnie has already spoke to God, we all pray God’s richest blessings on you. Thank you so much for being part of Water Valley.”
Next Hart introduced Mississippi Main Street Director of Community Relations, Jeannie Waller Zieren, who also offered words of praise.
“Our cover page of Mississippi Main Street Facebook Page now is the Blu-Buck Mercantile Building,” Zieren reported to a round of applause.
Last to speak in the official portion of the ribbon-cutting ceremony was Water Valley Main Street Manager Mickey Howley, who noted that it took hard work from Coughlin and support from the entire community. Howley also reported it was his birthday.
Personally, this is like the greatest present in a long time. Getting these buildings open and done,” Howley told the group.
Filling The Slots
Coughlin reported a third upstairs apartment was rented last week, leaving only one apartment available for long-term rental. He also said rentals had been brisk for the four smaller, efficiency apartments that are available for a weekend, week or month. His customers have included Ole Miss fans staying for the weekend during a home football game, friends or family members of Water Valley residents, corporate rentals from local industries and tourists who want to enjoy the experience.
Downstairs Coughlin has one of the four spaces rented to a furniture store.