One of the biggest buildings in downtown Henderson — and certainly its most eclectic business — is for sale.
The Elm at 120 N. Elm St. has been placed on the market by owners Brian and Lisa Glick as they start looking toward retirement.
“I’ll be 66 next month,” Brian Glick said in an interview, while his wife, who operates a medical billing consulting service from their loft home on the building’s third floor, would like to retire in 2025.
“We don’t know if it will take six months or three years to sell the property,” he said. “We don’t have to sell the property; we chose to. We hope whoever buys it loves it like we do — the hardwood floors and textured ceiling and the smell” as well as customers who have become friends, if not family.
The three-story, 18,726-square-foot brick building — which, judging from fire insurance maps, must have been constructed around 1910 — operated as a hardware and harness business by 1913. It’s remembered as the longtime home of Norris Hardware, then for 25 years as Homefolks Hardware until it closed in 2011. The Glicks and a partner bought two adjacent buildings with hopes to develop it into a large nightclub and music venue. When those plans failed to develop, the partnership was dissolved in 2013, the real estate was divided and the Glicks became sole owners of the big building at 120 N. Elm.
They opened The Elm as a vendor mall, renting 8×10-foot booths for entrepreneurs to sell their wares. Over time, several of those businesspeople were able to open free-standing businesses elsewhere downtown — in effect, “We were an incubator,” Glick said proudly — while others turned over sales of their merchandise to Glick. The Elm also absorbed four or five downtown consignment shops.
“People thought we were an antique store,” he said. “The fact is, we were a consignment shop with a lot of antiques … At our peak, we had over 700 consigners.”
The business continued to evolve. The Glicks launched Henderson Hemp Co., selling legal hemp and CBD products, while their son Matt started The Cure skateboard business.
As it grew, so did The Elm’s acclaim. Hendersonians several times voted it both the best consignment shop and best antique store here, and it finished second as the best antique store in the state in polling by Kentucky Living magazine.
But then came two blows.
Starting in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic kept shoppers away, though Brian said a saving grace was being able to accept orders for Henderson Hemp products and provide curbside pickup.
Then one night in October 2021, a motorist drove through the front of The Elm.
“That was the second hammer,” Glick said. “We were open, but we were boarded up for nine months” waiting for insurance claims to be resolved and the storefront reconstructed.
“It seems after the pandemic, that business went south,” he said.
So, Glick turned to something he had done practically his entire life: live music.
“I started playing drums when I was 12, and most of my adult life I played two to six nights a week,” he said. Glick knew essentially every performer in town.
In 2022, space was cleared out on the ground floor for a music and event venue. A stage was constructed, liquor licenses were secured, a bar installed, and new restrooms put in (“Lisa said they had to be the nicest restrooms downtown,” he said.)
Performers were hired — not just from Henderson, but from Nashville, New Orleans, Florida and beyond, including some professional Nashville singer-songwriters. Music ranging from country to rock to blues to metal, even punk, has been performed.
“There’s a lot of great music but not a lot of venues,” Glick said.
“Every musician says it’s one of the best-sounding rooms they’ve played,” though he calls that a happy accident beyond his control.
The space “can comfortably seat 124,” and cover charges (usually $5) help pay the bands, Glick said. Bar sales are crucial to profitability, but he doesn’t consider The Elm a bar. “We consider it an event space that has a bar,” he said.
The space has also been used for class reunions, wedding receptions and funeral bereavement dinners.
In some ways, the past couple of years with The Elm largely being an event space (with a few vendors still in operation) have been the most satisfying for Glick. But the years of labor to develop it “has taken a lot out of me physically.”
He’s ready for a rest, someday, after The Elm sells. The asking price is $1.495 million.
“I think the cool thing I’m proud about is, we were able to evolve and have it succeed,” Glick said.
A detailed real estate brochure for the property is available at http://tinyurl.com/TheElmFlyer