Jim Bierman.jpg

Jim Bierman paints the front of BPI Pool Supply in Fulton, Ill. The 126-year-old building is being restored to its original condition by owner Mike Knott.

Natalie Conrad/Clinton Herald
Herald Staff Writer

We’ve all heard the saying, “Out with the old. In with the new.” But for BPI Pool Supply, it is the exact opposite.

Owner Mike Knott has worked to restore the building to its original look along with help from his wife Anne, and friends Jim Bierman and Dale Green. BPI has occupied the building at 1007 Fourth St. for three years.

“We knew the building wasn’t in the best condition when we bought it,” Knott said. “ It’s nice to finally be able to get some work done.”

The historic building was built in 1886 by the Utz family and was used as a news stand, confectionary and restaurant. It was in dire need of a fixing up from top to bottom, according to Knott. The floor was collapsing, so the basement crawl space was filled with sand before concrete was poured for a new floor.

Knott said the heavy pool supplies may have put a strain on the floor, but it was the years of damage, neglect and old age of the building that ultimately led to the collapse. There was a hole 8 feet deep caused by the collapse.

A green-tinged facade at the front of the store was certainly short of esthetically pleasing and looked nothing like the orignal storefront. Knott and friends are replicating the historical storefront by using brick that looks like the old brick and by putting in big newly framed windows with insulated glass.

Putting on a new rubberized roof with new support is the next step in the construction process. The new roof is expected to protect the building better from rain and snow.

Since the work began, the community has shown a great interest in how things are moving along, Knott said.

“There’s always someone here peaking in to see what we’re doing or stopping by to talk,” Knott said. “Sometimes it’s hard to get work done.”

Construction is expected to take a total of six weeks. Knott plans to re-open his business with the new/old look on May 1. The store is open from May through Oct. 1. Knott also owns Bogott Plumbing Inc. in Morrison, Ill.

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