Cassopolis to get new bar, bakery

CASSOPOLIS — Steve and Schelley Schroeder are hoping to give the village of Cassopolis two things it currently does not already have: a bar and a bakery.

Cassopolis has not had a neighborhood bar for almost two years. Steve Schroeder is hoping to change all that before the end of the year by opening a bar and bakery along downtown Cassopolis’ Broadway Street.

Schroeder, who has worked in the aerospace industry for 41 years, first at Honeywell, the old Bendix plant in South Bend, and currently in Iowa, was trying to figure out what to do with the next chapter of his life.

With relatives living just a few doors up from the Holden Green Tavern, he noticed a for sale sign in the front window. He knew then and there what he wanted to do.

Dr. Roger Pacina owned the Holden Green Tavern. The bar portion of the building is reminiscent of the 1930s or 1940s. One room off the bar is an old-fashioned soda fountain, while the third room has a barbershop and dental equipment.

Schroeder said the upstairs has been gutted and wide open, which could be perfect for a reception hall. He even has a 150-year-old, 12-foot-long bar that he found in Iowa that would be used upstairs.

With a plan to also serve food as well as beverages, Schroeder is looking at taking part of the room that houses the soda fountain and turning that into a kitchen area. He also would like to have a game room.

Schroeder plans to keep the bar looking the same. The only changes currently planned are for updates to plumbing and electricity, and putting in a cooler and draft beer lines.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put the project behind schedule as contractors were not allowed to work. Not that those restrictions have been lifted, he can begin work.

The other thing that will determine when the bar opens will be getting a liquor license from the state of Michigan. The Cassopolis Village Council approved recommending him for it, which is the first step in the process.

“To be honest with you, I have no idea how long it is going to take to get a liquor license,” Schroeder said. “It could be two months. It could be three or more. I have a guy coming this week or next week to give me a quote on putting in a walk-in cooler in the basement where I can store the draft beer and then run the lines up to the bar.

Schroeder envisions Holden Green being a place where people come to enjoy a cold beer, eat some good food, relax and have a good time. It will be a bar in the true sense of the word because he would rather not have children in the bar. He also plans to make sure that it is the type of place where people came come without having to deal with people arguing or fighting.

“It will be a nice neighborhood bar that people can come to,” he said. “Cassopolis needs an anchor, and a neighborhood bar can be that anchor.”

Beside Holden Green, Schroeder has purchased space next store, which was being rented out to the Artisan Shoppe. Unfortunately, that business is closing due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Schroeder would like to recruit an antique store that would go along with the bar’s motif.

Next to Fifth Third Bank, he purchased a building where the bakery will go. That project is also running behind due to the coronavirus, but when opened, breads and other items will be featured with the food at the bar.

The Johnson building, which sits across the street on the corner has also been purchased by Schroeder. Plans for that are still be formed and any type of work on it will not be started until at least next year.

“I have my hands full this year,” he said. “Everything is within walking distance. That is the model. To be successful, everything needs to be close together.”