By Brandon Martin
A new project, Yeatts Restored, is officially on the way to its new life after a ribbon cutting ceremony at the property on 6620 A.L. Philpott Highway.
The project is the latest venture by Legacy Industries which plans to rehab the former Yeatts Nursery, develop the on-site house for Airbnb rentals and renovate the inside of Milestone Mercantile, which will remain in operation.
Caleb Knighten, co-founder of Legacy Industries, said his family home is nearby the property and he had his eye on the lot for a while.
“I’ve ridden by here hundreds of times and the property was on the market for a long, long time,” Knighten said. “I saw there were ‘for sale’ signs out here so I kind of knew that they wanted to sell. Just in conversation one day, they found out we were buying properties and businesses and we made it happen from there.”
Knighten said Yeatts Restored is “technically not a business yet” but rather a name for multiple smaller projects that will take place at the site.
“Our plans are to bring back the nursery business. It’s going to take some time, maybe months or even a year or two to bring that part of the operation back,” Knighten said. “So Yeatts Restored is the name of the entire project. We will be rehabbing the retail store here, the antique shop (Milestone Mercantile). We are rehabbing the house right now. It is lovingly called ‘Granny’s House.’ Our plan is to rehab it and put Airbnb there.”
According to Knighten, the Airbnb will be themed around “outdoor living” with its very own pond, which will be stocked with fish for guests to catch.
“We are going to have a hammock village outside, so they will have a place to relax outside,” he added.
Knighten said he is hoping to have the house ready within eight weeks.
After the house is up to par, Knighten said that Milestone Mercantile will be getting a fresh coat of paint and some landscaping work.
“It’ll still be here and open Wednesday through Saturday,” Knighten said. “It’s an awesome place if you haven’t been there.”
The final phase of the project will be bringing the nursery portion back.
“When we bring the nursery back, we are thinking of seasonal plants like Christmas Trees, mums, pumpkins, Easter lilies, and poinsettias at Christmas time,” Knighten said.
He said he is most excited to see the guests that will visit the property from outside of the area.
Jim Woods, public relations director for Legacy Industries, said the project is indicative of a different type of economic development which the holding company hopes to foster.
“It’s nice when these industries like PressGlass come in. That’s killer, but sometimes it’s adding three jobs to a community, two more jobs somewhere else,” Woods said. “We are playing the long-game. That’s what Legacy Industries is all about.”
Legacy Industries was started by Knighten and fellow co-founder Jay Judkins in 2019.
“Jay had worked a variety of different jobs in the area until 2006 when he opened up his insurance business,” Woods said. “He, as this middle-aged man, is juxtaposed with Caleb who is a young man that graduated Martinsville High School and at one point said he would never come back.”
After some time away, Knighten returned home to open his own lawn care business.
“They both go to the same church, and they just began to talk it out,” Woods said. “It’s amazing how the Almighty will put people together for a greater purpose.”
Woods said Legacy Industries is a faith-based organization that focuses on a greater plan where “the Almighty will open doors and sometimes he will close doors.”
Currently, the organization has 24 employees across multiple companies.
“They go to aspiring retirees who don’t have anybody in the family that wants to continue the business and none of their employees are particularly interested in buying it either,” Woods said. “So Legacy Industries will come along and say ‘hey, we would like to buy your business.’ They don’t just buy it and shut it down. They buy them and make them viable again. They come in and continue the legacy.”
Woods said it is important to the organization to not see long-standing businesses forced to shutter its doors.
“The first one that they went in together on was the insurance company next to the DMV,” Woods said. “Ken and Phyllis Cockram wanted to retire, and Jay is an insurance agent down in Ridgeway. They just approached them and asked if they would be interested in selling the business. We just take that foundation that these people have built and add on to it to make it a 21st Century business.”
Woods said Legacy has done the same with other businesses like West Imports Metal Recycling.
“It’s not just insurance,” Woods said, adding that another business held by Legacy is The Mower Store in Collinsville.