By MARY RAINWATER
A facility once used to build young minds will soon be utilized for more tangible building, as owners of Braly Builders Supply are busy stocking shelves and hanging signs in preparation for its relocation from 1502 N. Jackson St. to the historic Rusk School building.
The school, located at 420 W. Palestine Ave. (U.S. 79) and Jackson Street, closed in 2004 and was purchased by the City of Palestine after being used as an alternative campus by Palestine Independent School District.
Stephen and Vicki Braly, fourth-generation owners of Braly Builders Supply, purchased the historic school from the city for $16,000 in October 2012 for the purpose of relocating the 81-year-old family operated business.
The remodeling project began in April.
With the goal of maintaining the historical importance of the building and keep the hometown business feel, the Bralys are repurposing several items found in the building.
“We took the chalkboards, cut them up and repainted them and turned them into aisle signs for the store,” Vicki Braly said. “The teacher supply cabinets are being reused in the paint department as shelving.”
Instead of removing them completely, most of the classroom walls were stripped down to the framework to be used to divide the new store into departments — floor coverings, paint, gardening, etc.
What used to be the administration offices are being remodeled to serve as offices for the business.
“We also have an old street light that hung in Palestine and got it working and set it up in the floor coverings area,” Vicki Braly said. “We have brought in a couple of old signs from the other store to use here as well.
“The new business signs (hung on Thursday) were made to look decades old through a process of torching the wood.”
What used to be water fountain alcoves, will house old-fashioned vending machines. Old lockers in the school are also being repurposed as shelves, with plans to sell some of them to the public.
While the outside of the building will maintain its historic integrity, a large parking lot and lumber yard is being constructed to the side and rear of the building.
“We will be putting a fence up around the lumberyard area, and are building a structure for the delivery trucks,” Vicki Braly said.
With its relocation, Braly Building Supply, will have plenty of new merchandise offerings for customers including Craftsman® tools, tervis® insulated drinkware, Costa Del Mar sunglasses and more.
Bralys is also becoming an ACE® Hardware location, with the accompanying larger product line and a sign that will resemble that found on an old movie theater.
The new location is set to open sometime mid- to late October and the Bralys are planning a large grand opening event at that time.
“The community has been very supportive and encouraging throughout the process which has made the project fun and exciting for us,” the Bralys said. “We look forward to our new space and to serving the people of Palestine for many years to come.”
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org