Kallman Office Suites A Smash Hit In B’ville
By Fred Arnold Telescope Publisher
Drug store turned office space. Would it work? Boy, did it ever work.
When Clay Close and his wife Ashley Kallman were looking at a way to give back to Ashley’s home community of Belleville the vacant Arbuthnot Drug building downtown seemed like a great fit. The New York state couple spent a lot of time and resources transforming the Belleville landmark into office and conference suites.
From pharmaceuticals and retail Kallman Office Suites was born.
“It has been a huge success,” Close told the Telescope. “We’ve got all of the offices filled and have a waiting list from people who want space.” The former drug store has been completely remodeled.
Close, who has a background in finance, says the concept of developing office space locally was a natural. He said as business models have changed over the years, the need for a storefront has also changed. The building has: 11 offices, conference room, kitchenette and coworking space.
“Our customers are people who don’t necessarily need a brick-and-mortar store, they need an office. And maybe it’s not a full-time, fully staffed office. That is who we cater to.”
“This project was really born out of need,” he added.
Close said his customers aren’t just local people. National companies, regional companies and local and area individuals call ‘Kallman’ home. He credits the availability of high-speed internet and fiber optics as a great ‘partner’ in the location’s success.
“With high-speed internet people can run their business from all over the county right here in Belleville, Kansas,” Close added.
“Look, I’m a businessman and I look for opportunities. This hasn’t been just a good financial opportunity for me, it’s been a good opportunity for Belleville as well,” he said.
Belleville Chamber & Main Street director Waylon Sheetz said there’s no doubt the office suites have been good for the community.
“More and more people are working remote and space like Kallman Office Suites provide that ‘office’ setting in a remote working world,” Sheetz said.
Sheetz said the idea began with a vision of “what the building could be.” He said ideas were tossed around like a restaurant, retail incubator, niche stores. But he said a visit with Jenny Russell really spared the vision.
“Upon visiting the Courtland Coworking building created by Jenny I thought if it worked in Courtland, it could work in Belleville, too,” he said.
Sheetz said Clay Close and Ashley Kallman were looking for a project and all the pieces just fell together. Both Sheetz, Ashley Kallman and Clay Close agree that it has been a resounding success.
As for the ‘what’s next,’ Close told the Telescope he would like to expand to include even more office suites.
“We have more and more people wanting office space so we’re hoping we can do even more to meet this need,” Close said.
The developer said he has his eye on the former jewelry store building which is adjacent to the Kallman building.
“We’ll see what happens” he said, “Hopefully we can get something worked out.