Avril-Bleh sets tentative open date for grocery

Avril-Bleh & Sons Meat Market plans to open a convenience grocery next to their downtown butcher shop on May 13.

When the scaffolding comes down at 35 E Court Street, a restored façade and a new front entrance will welcome customers inside. But the interior will be the biggest surprise - the building's hardwood floors have been restored, as have the historic tin ceilings and a set of 120-year-old cabinets left over from the structure's former use as a restaurant supply company.

Owner Len Bleh has said that he plans to sell dairy products, eggs, produce, bread, dry goods and other staples. A deli counter and some limited seating space will make the store attractive for people wanting to grab a quick bite.

Urban Sites Properties performed the work for around $100,000, with the majority of the architectural work done by Mark Gunther of Wichman Gunther Architects.

Commercial-grade electric has been installed throughout the building, including the unfinished three stories above.

No decisions have been made for the upstairs spaces, though Greg Badger of Urban Sites Properties says they would be perfect for offices, galleries, or apartments.

Badger says there's no reason the venture won't be successful.

"They have a long history - they've been there since 1894," he says.  "There's strength in the history, and in the downtown location."

The Avril-Bleh & Sons Meat Market has been making sausages, hams, cold cuts, and smoked and roasted meats since 1894.

Writer: Kevin LeMaster
Source: Greg Badger, Urban Sites Properties
Photography by Scott Beseler
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