Apr. 6, 2019

The hours at the shop have been nonstop and business is booming at Fossil Forge Design.

So why would Dave Eames and Ben Wine want to take a chance on a forlorn building in downtown Lee’s Summit?

“We wanted a brick-and-mortar building to celebrate our community, our creativity, our design,” said Eames, owner of Fossil Forge Design and a metal artist who has constructed more than 30 Little Free Libraries across the United States.

In the middle of navigating kids through college, newborn twins at home and a burgeoning metal art business, Eames and Wine made a run at an abandoned downtown Lee’s Summit building at 307 SW Market Street. And when they won bid, their ideas started churning.

The Market Street building was born Nov. 15, 1960 when construction began on the new Lee’s Summit Fire Department station. In 1964, the department added a bunkhouse and dispatch area, an addition that is still attached to the building. With the deep setback of the building from Market Street, Eames says you can envision where the firetrucks were parked. In later years, the building housed the Lee’s Summit Parks & Recreation Department before going dormant for decades.

Eames and Wine said the demand for handmade items from Fossil Forge inspired the idea to open Local Foundery, which will feature a full makers experience from not only their own creative minds and hands, but local vendors sell handmade, authentic items. Local Foundery’s grand opening will be 10 a.m., Saturday, April 6.

“We are a bit retro here, you could say,” Wine said. “We will have fun things for purchase that you might have found 60 years ago. And locally-inspired products as well.”

Glassware, handmade leather, prints, jewelry, metal work, apparel, ornaments and custom signs will be on constant showcase at Local Foundery.

Eames opened his Fossil Forge shop in 2002 out of his garage and moved to downtown Lee’s Summit in 2015. Wine has a background in signage and neon work and joined as a partner in 2017. The two have partnered on projects since 2014.

“This place is all about celebrating our community,” Eames said. “Interesting design and a place to socialize will be some key characterizations of our shop. It’s a gathering place. A place where art and creativity and community are all welcome. This is a place we imagine will be vintage and personal, a place for ‘found’ items that are meaningful to each person.”

Eames and Wine said the revitalization of the building alone makes this venture exciting.

“This building has never paid taxes,” Eames said. “We are taking a somewhat quiet street near the gateway to our downtown and bringing life to it.”