Florida entrepreneur hopes to breath new life into Hazel

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Mike Spissinger

HAZEL, Ky. - Hazel, Kentucky is known for its antiques, but one of the antique mall operators shut down his store after a disagreement with the city over business licenses.  After that, the other large antique mall closed leaving some wondering about the direction of the community.

A Florida entrepreneur hopes restoring a historic building will also restore excitement and bring back business.

"You never know what you might find in the nooks and crannies," Steve and Sandy Pompe said as they comb for treasures at Angelique's Antiques.

They're in good company, but there's not as much company as there once was.

Owner, Glenda Rowlett said her business was cut in half after two of the booth malls closed.

"So many people like booth malls and they came a lot of the time for that," Rowlett said.

Fellow antique enthusiast, James Cunningham is confident they'll come back when he's finished perfecting his new project, a very old building; the former Hazel Lumber Company, and more recently "Heart of Hazel Antiques."

"The building itself is an antique," Cunningham said.

100 plus years shows.

"This poor building got so beat up over the years because it had so many different owners," Cunningham told us.

But Cunningham has a vision for the whole thing.  One that excites the whole town and city leaders like commissioner John Paschall.

"That's what we're trying to get back to, we're trying to rebuild everything," Paschall said.

Cunningham is happy to be a part of the rebuilding, to give people like the Pompe's even more places to look.

Cunningham hopes to have 50 to 100 booths inside the antique shop.  He hopes to be open by October, and says if you're interested in leasing a booth, you may inquire at his other antique shop, 'Memory Lane Antiques' in Hazel.

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