New craft brewery, new cafe open in Boones Mill

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BOONES MILL (WSLS 10) - The revitalization effort in Boones Mill leads to two new businesses suited for local and out-of-town crowds opening in town. That makes five new businesses in a year and more are on the way.

Big things are happening in the small town of Boones Mill as the once railroad town is now working to thrive in the 21st century.

Not long after adopting their first comprehensive plan, Boones Mill, a town with a population of 250 people, has welcomed five new businesses.

Two of those businesses, The Wooden Spoon Cafe, which features gluten-free baked goods, and a brewery just opened. Town Manager Matt Lawless said it’s an exciting time to be in town.

"To see both of them open within a couple weeks of each other really feels like a good boost of momentum to the town and we have seen a lot of excitement in the community."

Long empty store fronts are once again open for business. Windows in stores along Main Street in the town now have fresh signs and open doors waiting to serve customers.

"Two restaurants, a pet salon, a gun shop, a lot of vacant buildings in our historic district filled in by new interesting businesses that are helpful to local residents and tourists. I think things like the Brew Pub fit that perfectly,” Lawless said.

Hammer & Forge Brewing Company has been open for less than a week, but already you'll find eight original craft beers on tap.

Owner Caleb Williamson trained at Big Lick Brewing in Roanoke, but decided to start his business in Boones Mill in an under-tapped market.

"It's a lot of excitement of people that are happy to have more on the Southern end of Roanoke to go to,” Williamson said. He hopes to help draw on some of the crowds of craft beer lovers who already travel that way to go to Chaos Mountain Brewing and Sunken City. He said  the three businesses can work together for an overall benefit. In fact, he and Chaos Mountain Brewery are planning to release a collaboration beer soon.

Williamson said Boones Mill is the perfect place to set up shop because of the number of cars that drive Route 220 every day.

"There's 28,000 cars a day that go by Boones Mill. It's a little town, but that's a lot of traffic. If I can capture even 3 percent of that traffic that goes home, that's a lot of beer,” Williamson explained.

And the town is making room for more businesses.

Renovations on an industrial space near town hall are ahead of schedule with one rail-related tenant, Titan Trains already committed.

"We are seeing the 21'st century version of the {town's} history. I think for the history buffs here and the residents who have lived here for generations that really means a lot. It's really exciting to be part of that,” Lawless said.

A grand opening event will be held Saturday, March 4 at Hammer & Forge Brewery from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Events include live music, food and a live blacksmith demonstration on site.

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