Renovating downtown buildings is a trend across the state, and owners of the May Brothers Building are making a big impact in Fremont.
The May Brothers came to town in 1868, and they started with a one-story grocery store. Eventually, they built the May Brothers building and developed a grocery distribution company there. In the 1900's, it went to another owner who brought in the Kreske Company. It was a five-and-dime store, and that was there for decades. After that the building had various owners, Glen Ellis and his wife bought it about four years ago.
Glen is a the developer of a software company. "I started developing a school management system, and it took off from one school to another," Ellis said. "The company is called Sycamore Leaf Solutions, and the product is called Sycamore Education or Sycamore School." The software company came first, and then the building. "We were growing, we needed a spot where we could expand," Ellis said. "We wanted a place where Sycamore could land, but we also wanted a place where we could start building an entrepreneurial ecosystem."
Now, the building features the Milady Coffeehouse on the first floor. It also has an entertainment venue called the Pioneer Theater. "We have local bands and national bands coming through, and we also have a pint room where we can serve brew from local craft breweries around Nebraska. The second floor is where we have some of the best 1920's office space," Ellis said. That's where he hopes businesses will be able to grow and flourish. But the space still needed to be renovated. "There are a lot of great things in downtown Fremont already," Ellis said. "We just have to take it to the next level now."