Husband and wife Todd and Amanda Askins have taken on the challenge in downtown New Brockton that is the old Hogg building.
Built in 1928, the building has been everything from an ice house to a furniture store to a tiki bar. The Askins are turning the building into the family’s home and an office for Amanda Askins’ interior design business.
The family’s connection to New Brockton started when Todd Askins bought the old cabinet shop in downtown.
“We lived in an Enterprise and our subdivision didn’t have a lot of land and I do woodworking as a hobby,” Todd Askins said. “To a make long story short, the cabinet shop came up for sale and we bought the cabinet shop originally. And the Hogg, the owner of the Hogg approached me about buying it so I ran it past Amanda and the kids (their daughters Madison, 15, and Natalie,11) so it kind of fell into place.”
It’s been a lot of work to turn the Hogg into a family homem, even temporarily.
“When we bought the house, it just had one bedroom and a bathroom that was heated and cooled,” Amanda Askins said.
She said that it took until the end of June to get air conditioning in all the living areas of the building.
The building also needed a new roof.
“It was not cheap,” Todd Askins said. “That one hurt.”
They had to contract that out, but are trying to do as many of the renovations themselves as possible.
“The only way that really makes it economical is do as much of it as we can,” Todd Askins said.
Though the Askins have been mostly focused on the inner renovations, they have started some outer projects, including repainting the building. While the Hogg name was painted over, the Askins stressed that it will be painted back on.
“I think we would be voted out of New Brockton if we didn’t put Hogg back on it,” Amanda Askins said.
Todd Askins talked about one encounter they’ve already had regarding the name.
“Matter of fact, the day she and I repainted that we had two people stop by,” Todd Askins said. “One of them stopped and was like, ‘You’re going to paint that back on there, aren’t you?’ And we were like, ‘Yes, sir.’”
The Askins plan to put lights over the writing once it’s back on the building so that it will always stay lit.
In the end, one side of the building will be turned into about a 3,000 square foot home and the other side will be turned into Amanda Askins’ office, according to the couple.
Amanda said she is considering using the middle portion of the Hogg building as an event venue once all the renovations are complete.
They are hoping to have everything complete in three to five years.
However, since starting on the Hogg, downtown New Brockton has seen more than a few new businesses.
“After we came, I guess, DeAngela (Parrish) rented that space for hers (DeAngela’s Ink Boutique & Spa) and the Mule Town Florist has come in and then we sold the Piggly Wiggly and what used to be a hair salon there,” Amanda Askins said.
The two buildings on the end of the row where the Hogg building is have also been bought and are currently being renovated for new businesses.
The Askins even bought the building beside the Hogg and are renovating it to rent out as business space.
“I guess we’re going to have to shift gears and get it (the other building) ready,” Todd Askins said. “One to have something that produces income for itself and the other is to keep spurring the growth of the town.”
The Askins have set up a Facebook page called HOGG Tales for anyone who wants to keep up with the renovations or post memories of the Hogg building.