Rapid transformation for historic building

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Oct. 31—ANDERSON — In less than three months, a local couple has transformed a historic building in downtown Anderson into a bakery and café.

Pam and Dave Clendenen purchased the brick building at 122 W. Eighth St., previously known as the Newman Center, from Thomas Newman Jr.

The couple had a soft opening of the facility Sunday that includes the Ruby's Café & Bakery, a boutique and event center in what is being called Building 22.

There are plans to open a fitness center in the future and the balcony has been converted into movie theatre.

The bakery and café will officially open next Saturday.

It will be open Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturday from 7 to 11 a.m.

"This came together very quickly, a lot of late nights and lots and lots of helpers," Pam Clendenen.

"I'm so excited, I can't wait," she said.

The building will include a plaque honoring the Newman family

Joe Newman said his brother would put his "stamp of approval" on the finished remodeling.

Tom Newman Jr. passed away a couple of weeks ago.

"He would be walking around pointing out work that still needed to be done," Joe Newman said. "They did a great job."

Newman said his brother always wanted to convert the building into an event center.

Pastor Jim Lyon said the opening of the building was an important moment for Anderson.

"It's an investment they're making in Anderson," he said. "It's the strengths and building the community."

Dave Clendenen said the purchase of the building took place in one day.

"We walked through the building," he said. "It needed work and Judge Newman was emotional when we expressed an interest in making the purchase.

"Our family, friends and vendors made this all possible," Dave said.

State Rep. Kyle Pierce said the Clendenens really turned the building around in a short period of time.

"They made it a home for community events and businesses," he said.

Pierce said the first event took place on Saturday for a baby shower.

Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. noted how quickly the appearance of the building was changed.

"Pam had a vision and enthusiasm for the project," he said. "Tom Newman had close ties to this building."

Broderick said the original intent was to name the facility the Newman Center and that Newman had a vision for the building.

"I know he would be proud of what has been accomplished here," he said.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.