CLINTON — A showroom of vintage muscle cars and Corvettes will welcome drivers crossing the north bridge starting this July.
Mike Van Buer, 50, long-time owner of Van Buer Insurance, purchased the neighboring former Second Street Cleaners at 1830 N. Second St. in March. Together with his stepson, Jordan Konrardy, 25, Van Buer will own and operate Encore Auto, where they will sell collector cars as well as some modern used cars.
Van Buer will still run his insurance business while Konrardy will be the manager of Encore Auto.
"It's something I enjoy doing on my own anyway. I never hold on to a car or motorcycle for very long. This gives me the opportunity to do something I know I love everyday," Konrardy said.
Van Buer said the idea to purchase the building and turn his passion for vintage cars into a second career has been simmering for a few years, but it wasn't until things came together recently that he decided to pursue the business.
"Collector cars are something I've been interested in for a long time," Van Buer said. "We've dabbled in selling cars privately and it's something I wanted to do, but I always said it would never work unless it was right next door to my insurance business. This is the perfect fit."
While the intersection appears to have undergone a large transformation, so far only the corner building was torn down and work is being done to prepare the lot to become Encore Auto. The other building that is on the lot is being reconstructed and expanded to be a showroom for the late 1960s and early 1970s muscle cars and Corvettes.
Residents and visitors will start to notice further changes in the next two weeks as the frame of the new building is built. About six collector cars will occupy the 3,000-square-foot building while 20 used cars will be outside.
Van Buer said the new business will improve the corner, which he believes is a valuable piece of Clinton.
"We're trying to do it right so it's 'bam' when you come over the bridge," Van Buer said. "It's the gateway to Clinton."
The business is scheduled to open on July 1.
"I'm excited. Truly," Van Buer said.