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How One Rockford Abandoned Property Has Found New Life

ROCKFORD – The problem with abandoned properties has been front page news recently. But one old, vacant flea market is getting a face lift under familiar ownership.
ROCKFORD – Cutting and sanding now a little easier at the new Lonnie's Stonecrafters.  An old, abandoned building completely renovated to make a new space.  Jason Bender has been an employee there for five years:  “Our old building was obviously very small, everybody's working on top of each other throughout the whole place."

And there's plenty of room for growth.  The owner, Lonnie Presson, also of Lonnie's Carpet Max, is making a big bet on Rockford's economy: “We knew that to grow our business and do what we needed to do, we needed to step out on faith and go ahead and do it and hopefully the economy catches up with us.  But, business has been great."

Not only has the move helped Lonnie's, turning a vacant property into a vibrant business is also helping surrounding companies.  Presson says, “When I went over here to grab a sandwich next door at Beefaroo or the Taco Bell, I've had a few people pat me on the shoulder saying thanks for coming to this side of town.  So that was a nice thing to hear from different business owners."

The new location provides for both a manufacturing area a separate area for their show room, but renovating does also bring some headaches. Bender explains, “Just trying to work through getting the work flow down again, that's pretty hard.  It hasn't came all the way around for us quite yet. But, we'll get there eventually." 

Lonnie did shop around for other locations, but says something about this spot appealed to him: “I feel this area really needed something like this."
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