Lee Hackney and Susan Whitemountain are transforming three buildings on Main Street in Anna into new businesses. From left are Hackney, Whitemountain and The Here and Now Shop manager Ilse Easterly. The Here and Now Shop sells supplies for DIY projects. Photo by Amber Skelton.Part of the building that previously had been the home of Union County Pharmacy will become the new Anna Potter, managed by Lee Hackney. The shop will offer unglazed pottery that can be painted by customers and then fired by Hackney. Photo by Amber Skelton.The flooring and portions of the wall needed to be replaced in the former Union County Pharmacy building before it could become The Gathering Place. Store manager Susan Whitemountain plans to offer genealogy and researching services to the community. Photo by Amber Skelton.

South Main Street buildings in Anna home to new businesses

South Main Street in Anna is three steps closer to being filled, thanks to the recent building purchases by two Anna women. 

Lee Hackney and Susan Whitemountain bought the former Hunting Traditions and the two spaces that made up the Union County Pharmacy. They plan for the three spaces to become separate shops.

The Hunting Traditions shop, which has been closed since 2012, needed very little work. 

“All we had to do was clean,” Hackney said. 

It reopened on Monday, Feb. 27, as The Here and Now Shop. 

Whitemountain joked that “what’s here is what we’re selling now.” What’s there now includes materials for quilting and embroidery projects, books and picture frames.

The shop is managed by Ilse Easterly and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A grand opening is planned in April.

They hope to host quilting classes and events.

Hackney plans to manage the central shop as The Anna Potter. She intends to sell greenware pottery that has been shaped but not yet converted to ceramic. Customers will be able to choose their greenware, paint it however they like, and Hackney will then glaze it.

Hackney said that 10 percent of the proceeds from The Anna Potter will benefit the Anna Arts Center, where she is the director.

The third shop, which will take up the second portion of the old pharmacy building, will be managed by Susan Whitemountain, who works with the PAST organization of Union County.

Whitemountain’s genealogical experience with PAST will tie into the new shop, called The Gathering Place. It will be based around local history and family records. 

Whitemountain has been doing her research from home but suspected that the community could benefit from her work. 

“Here’s an opportunity to come downtown and share my resources.” She plans to donate 10 percent of her proceeds to PAST.

The building, which sat empty for about eight years, has required some construction to become store-ready. Rotting in the wood made a new floor necessary. The walls were also opened up to reveal front access to the top floor apartment and an extra door. 

Whitemountain plans to have construction completed and to open April 1. 

The projects have taken work, but the women said it’s worth it. 

“Here’s three empty buildings kind of crucial to downtown. We hated for them to be lost,” Hackney said. “We’ve had volunteers and we’re very appreciative.”

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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