A little more than two weeks after opening, Augusta’s newest business additions are welcoming a steady stream of customers, mostly locals, according to Ashley Hesjedal, director of specialty retail for the Hoffmann Family of Companies.
“The ice creams have been super popular; they’re local. And people are really shopping the produce,” Hesjedal said of the Emporium at 5595 Walnut St., which was the first of David Hoffmann’s new downtown businesses to open. It celebrated its grand opening July 1. The holiday weekend was also the first weekend of Kickstand Augusta, which sells everything from bike parts and gear to healthy snacks from its site at 5533 Water St., across from the Katy Trailhead.
Next on the agenda, Hesjedal said, will be a 24/7 self-service gas station with two pumps at 225 Jackson St. She said the project is awaiting a final permit from St. Charles County but that the materials for the project, which should take about six weeks from start to finish, are in.
The bike shop, in particular, is a special triumph for Hesjedal. She first opened the store about a year ago during the pandemic as a drive-up window where Katy Trail bikers could get a fast and healthy snack during their rides. She said operating the business under the Hoffmanns’ wing has given her the opportunity to grow the business more quickly. In addition to Hesjedal, the shop has two full-time staff members, including one bike mechanic.
The Emporium employs four people so far, with plans to increase its staff as the store expands its hours. The shop is currently closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The Hoffmanns have previously stated that future ideas for downtown storefronts include a wedding dress shop, a florist, a coffee shop and more.