Sanders Store

Remember the story about Mary? Well, two of the farm’s biggest cheerleaders, also known as Mom & Dad/Grammy & Pop/Kay & Rudy, have done it again. But this endeavor is just a tick bigger than hauling an old farm truck from Ohio to Indiana. 

Kay and Rudy have jumped, both feet first, into an endeavor to save another historic Monroe County treasure: the old Sanders Store. The Sanders Store just happens to be within spitting distance from our farm, Whippoorwill Hill, which is why we will periodically update our followers on the project’s progress; that and the building is so cool we can’t help ourselves! Mom and Dad’s project will be a stand-alone endeavor serving anyone who would like to utilize the Sanders Store as a place to congregate, visit, or stay. But we hope that it may be utilized as a supplementary space for Whippoorwill Hill customers—think groom and groomsmen photos on the front porch with old gas pumps or brides and bridesmaids getting ready in front of the 12’ tall windows!

If you frequent Fairfax Road (the farm’s nearest main thoroughfare), then you know the store. It’s just south of the old Sanders School (now the Hi-Tec building), and if you hold your head just right while watching the movie Breaking Away as the characters drive out of Rooftop Quarry, you can see where the store sits. Locals may better know it as the old Hay’s Market, but it has remained vacant for decades and has been utilized largely as a bus stop for school-aged children, a parking lot, and a landmark on Fairfax Road about halfway between downtown Bloomington and Lake Monroe. It’s the tall, proud, large, and rectangular limestone building on the corner of Fairfax Road and Sanders Second Avenue that now looks like it needs a little love.  And love it will surely get. 

Kay and Rudy have a long background in vision, real estate investment, and making the old and underutilized useful, spiffy, and bloody cool to boot! Rudy has extensive experience in environmental remediation, which comes in handy when old gas tanks, asbestos, and lead paint are renovation hurdles. Their plan is to restore the building with the help and oversight of Bloomington Restoration, Inc. and the Monroe Country Historic Preservation Board. The desired end goal is to develop a period-correct (on the exterior), comfortable, and memorable vacation rental/bed & breakfast—remaining mindful of the spirit of the building—that will be utilized by friends and travelers who come to Bloomington for happy times at the farm, Lake Monroe, Indiana University, or to participate in other Monroe County goings-on!

Our entire family is giddy with excitement about the possibilities of this project and honored to be able to help make history in the Sanders Store. It will take some work on the store’s structure, utilities, and finishings, but I firmly believe it will be one of the coolest vacation rentals you’ve ever seen with its own vibe and personality.

We would love to hear your ideas about the farm or the store. If you have any nuggets of history or ideas for renovation you’d like to share, please let us know!

If you wish to follow the Sanders Store renovation, follow on Facebook and Instagram. For more information on Whippoorwill Hill or booking your event, please call or email us at (812) 327-4218 or anne@whippoorwill-hill.com.

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