October 31, 2014

Several entrepreneurs set up shop in Edgerton

Aldon Isenberg poses behind the counter of his Edgerton resturant, the Easy  Double E. Isenberg’s diner is one of several new shops downtown. Staff photo by Danedri Thompson

Amy Cunningham
acunningham@gardnernews.com

A mini-business boom may be sweeping through Edgerton; a drive down Nelson Street confirms

Aldon Isenberg poses behind the counter of his Edgerton resturant, the Easy Double E. Isenberg’s diner is one of several new shops downtown. Staff photo by Danedri Thompson

that storefronts are filling up.

Within the past four months three new businesses, Body Well Therapeutic Massage, Easy Double E restaurant and Engraving Services and Crafts have all chosen to call the downtown area located on Nelson Street home, said Janiece Rawles, interim city clerk for the City of Edgerton.

She said that, within the last year other businesses including Home Readers, a non-profit organization providing catalogue, cookbook, magazine and books on audio tape for the blind, moved from the owner’s home to their location on Nelson.

Michelle Whitaker, a Home Readers employee checks a Braille printer while working on Wednesday afternoon. Home Readers produces books and periodicals for the blind in audio and in Braille. Staff photo by Danedri Thompson

Businessman Ryan Williams recently purchased two buildings, 310 and 312 East Nelson Street, located at the west end of the business district.  Currently Williams is working to renovate the buildings, formerly a plastics plant, but he plans to create at least one or two new businesses, most likely dealing with recycling services, within the next year-or-so.  He believes that his investment will payoff when the Intermodal opens for business.

“Just like anyone else, the Intermodal made me think there would be potential for city growth,” Williams, an Edgerton native, explained.  “I shopped around for probably two to three years, before I purchased this place.  Hopefully I can provide a friendly service to local citizens in Edgerton and the surrounding communities that they can benefit by selling some of their recycling to me.”

Craig Berscheidt hasn’t quit his day job as an engineer for Garmin, but that didn’t keep him from setting up shop in Edgerton.  An entrepreneur working on Computer Numerical Control (CNC) – machines that assist with and can often replace existing manufacturing processes, Berscheidt outgrew his basement and moved his equipment into the Nelson Street Location. One use for his laser cutting and engraving machines has been manufacturing license plates with logos – most successfully for the Gardner Edgerton High School Quarterback Club.

“I’ve been doing some side-work, which is displayed in my window – car tags, and other customizable stuff.  I’ve done things for the Quarterback Club, local businesses and the Kauffman Foundation as well as KU Med – those pay the rent while I get my other ventures up and running,” he explained.

New restaurateur Aldon Isenberg, owner of the Easy Double E restaurant which opened its doors March 3, sees a bright future in Edgerton.  Isenberg was laid off from his job as an engineering CAD technician, so he decided to go back to his restaurant roots.  Nearly 30 years ago he worked for Herb Lewis, former president of the Kansas Culinary Association – today he plans to use some of the techniques he learned in his own venture.

Isenberg hopes to become a community staple, similar to a restaurant he remembers from visits with his grandparents in Lucas, Kan.

“People are so happy to see me,” Isenberg said, remembering his first three customers, little girls who decided to stop on his first Saturday in business.  “As a kid growing up there was a mom and pop place that I remember and I think everyone should have that. When you’re growing up, you remember those kinds of places and I like to see those kids have the same reaction.”

Isenberg currently offers cold sandwiches, smoked meats, soups and salads but he plans to expand his menu as more people come into the restaurant.

Body Well owner Michele Baker has been providing massage therapy to clients and teaching the

Michele Baker, owner of Body Well in Edgerton, pauses from her work as a massage therapist. The business is one of several new storefronts in Edgerton. Staff photo by Danedri Thompson

skill at Heritage College for nearly a decade, but decided it was time to open her Edgerton location when the space became available.

“I waited until I could afford that space and it became available; overall business is going pretty well,” Baker explained.  “I’m growing and that’s unusual for the massage business to grow during the winter months.”

Baker also has plans to expand her business – she hopes to one day offer a full range of holistic healing services in Edgerton, incorporating an acupuncturist and a chiropractor.

“I want this to be available to people who can’t afford it,” she said.

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