San Antonio: East Side General Contractors Make New Braunfels Ave Corridor Revival Their Mission
Feature Photo: The current office of Straight Line Management (blue building to left) will be leased to another company after Straight Line relocates across the street into the former Nick’s Drug and Beauty Supply store. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) — East Side natives and general contractors Sherrika and Joaquinn Arch have a pay-it-forward spirit about their corner of the world; having restored one commercial building on the New Braunfels Avenue corridor, they have embarked on a second renovation that involves a landmark near and dear to the neighborhood.
Nick’s Drug & Beauty Supply at 733 N. New Braunfels Ave. was once the go-to destination where the women of Dignowity Hill went for their hair care needs. More than that, it was where many an East Side resident dropped in on Fridays to cash their paychecks. The owner, Nick Lopez Witherspoon, is still a fondly remembered businessman by old-timers.
Sherrika Arch, the owner and president of Straight Line Management LLC (SLM), founded the business in 2007 that she runs with her husband Joaquinn. They acquired and renovated 734 N. New Braunfels, formerly a small neighborhood grocery, ten years ago.
They eventually outgrew the space they have operated in, however, and recently set their sites on a more ambitious renovation on the opposite side of the street.
“Our space across the street is only 1,200 square feet,” Joaquinn Arch said during a Friday morning presentation before the Inner City Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone board of directors.
Constructed in 1945, the Nick’s Drug & Beauty Supply building has an area of 7,560 square feet. The Arches plan to occupy about 2,500 square feet and lease out the remainder of the building–subdivided into four 1,000-SF lease spaces–at below market rents to help give other small East Side entrepreneurs a leg up.
“We are in talks with a photography company,” Joaquinn said, adding they have already entered an agreement with a wood craftsman.
The floor plan and exterior façade of the former Nick’s Drug and Beauty Supply store, as envisioned by new owner Straight Line Management.
The Arches acquired the property April 30, 2020 from Minnie G. Witherspoon. They’ve already implemented interior remediation and the construction of new interior utilities and walls that adhere to a new floorplan.
The couple came to the Inner City TIRZ to request a $160,000 grant to be used for public improvements related to the project. The total development cost was reported on their application as approximately $762,615.
Funds provided by the Inner City TIRZ would be for security fencing, exterior lighting improvements, awning repair and upgrades, new storefront windows and doors, sidewalk and driveway repairs, and a digital billboard. The project as defined in the TIRZ agreement is to begin May 1 and be completed by May 31, 2022.
Straight Line’s existing home will not go vacant. The Arches are in talks with a South Side furniture company that they hope will lease it as a second location.
“Our goal is to expand the New Braunfels corridor,” Joaquinn Arch said. Their hope is that these projects will become a catalyst that will entice other developers to invest in underutilized commercial properties nearby.
The request was unanimously approved. During the vote, several board members, including Mario Salas and Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert,waxed nostalgic on their visits in times long past at Witherspoon’s store.
733 N. New Braunfels, the future Straight Line Management headquarters, as it appears today. Images: Google Streets.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.