HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) – The former home of the Huntington Herald-Press will soon be the new home of various small businesses.

This Fall, the 25,000 square-foot facility will house a vegan pizza plant, a mushroom farm, a restaurant and even a media studio. Sisters Jennie and Lorry Plasterer, along with Rick Amieva, expect to close on the property in July.

Around this time a year ago, Jennie, the owner of Kitchen 17, was trying to keep up with soaring demand for her vegan pizzas. Lorry Plasterer, Jennie’s sister, was looking for a new home for her and her husband’s a media production company, Smiley Face Media. On top of their work in media, Lorry and Rick were also passionate about homesteading and even grew their own mushrooms.

One day, the Plasterer sisters noticed a “For Sale” sign hung on the old Herald-Press building. Thus, an idea was born to let that facility be the new home of their businesses.

The Herald-Press and Huntington carry a special meaning to the Plasterer sisters. Their family’s history in Huntington goes back generations, with their grandfather even working at the Herald-Press. Given the family’s history in Huntington, Jennie and Lorry feel they have a responsibility to continue helping the city.

“Our family has always done their best to improve this town and provide jobs to this town and keep things going in a positive direction here,” Lorry said. “It would be kind of a shame if we chose a different spot other than Huntington to do this.”

One section of the facility will be the new home to Kitchen 17. Some of the ingredients will be sourced directly from a wild mushroom farm that will be set in the building’s basement. Smiley Face Media will also have their own studio space in another section of the facility.

The old newsroom will also be converted into a work space and restaurant with vegan cuisine from Kitchen 17. This will aptly be named, “The Newsroom,” and will be the first plant-based restaurant in Huntington.

The final phase of this renovation focuses on riverfront restoration. Lorry Plasterer mentions how the exterior and roofing will eventually host outdoor dining and event spaces.

How various small businesses will set up within the Herald – Press building (Courtesy: Rick Amieva)

So far, the plans have been met with a warm reception from the Huntington community. Jennie was holding her breath on how the community would respond to vegan cuisine, but so far they have enjoyed it.

“Everyone was extremely welcoming and kind and optimistic,” Jennie said. “We gave them pizzas and everyone was really happy and sweet and supportive.”

With these ambitious plans, it also brings more jobs to the Huntington community. The Plasterer sisters hope to hire 17-25 employees between the pizza factory, mushroom farm and restaurant. That number could change as demand grows over time.

Once renovations are complete, further plans are in the works to help the Huntington community. Jennie and Lorry hopes to provide meals for schools, nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities.