TRURO - As Downtown Truro has grown and evolved over the years, two legendary buildings have taken on a second life in a very different form.
While the old Warehouse Bars buildings haven’t changed much on the outside, the sights and sounds of the once booming nightlife hotspot has been replaced by hot coffee, hot shaves, new age learning and extreme sports.
“These buildings are legendary because of all the stuff that has passed through them,” said Mitch Cooke.
“They are built like a fortress with the old wooden beams, and would be really hard to rebuild or replicate them again.”
Cooke had moved his skate shop, H.A.F. Skate and Tattoo, into the former Kegger’s location after he purchased the property last year.
In need of more space for his shop, he chose the buildings not only because of its space, location, and history, but also because of opportune timing.
“Everything kind of fell into place with it,” said Cooke.
“We had to jump through a lot of red tape to get into the place, but it was all about opportunity. When we decided to move, the building came up for sale at the right time and seemed like the right fit.”
Cooke also moved his other company Jimolly’s Bakery Café into the property, taking over the former location of The Loft.
“The idea was to buy the building and put it all under one roof. We had a lot more space and no longer paying rent was nice,” he said.
Before Cooke purchased the corner properties, they were a large part of the Truro nightlife, housing three different bars including Chevy’s Bar, Rustlers Cabaret, and Kegger’s Alehouse, as well as The Loft later on.
Mitch Cooke, owner of H.A.F. Skate and Tattoo and co-owner of Jimolly’s Bakery, purchased the Warehouse Bars buildings after he began looking for a new storefront for his shop. Remaining downtown was important to him, as he sees it as the spot to be for businesses like his.
Sharing the corner with H.A.F. and Jimolly’s is Sunstone Academy, a private elementary school.
The Tweed Suit, a traditional barbershop offering old school hot towel and straight razor shaves, is also located in a section of the Warehouse Bars building.
Staying in the downtown area was important for Cooke, as the area carries the same vibe and feeling as his shop, something that is missing in the more industrial area of Robie Street.
“Downtown is where it’s at, its way cooler,” he said,
“Out near Robie Street, it is all drive-through traffic. Trying to get out of there sucks, and we aren’t trying to compete with the mall. Malls have no character, which is what we wanted - character.”
Being in business for almost a decade, Cooke has watched the downtown area grow and develop with his business, bringing in more events and stores to the area, and shifting towards a more youthful approach.
“The town is starting to do a lot of stuff now, lots of events,” he said.
“Some of their ideas don’t suit us at all, such as seniors’ expos and stuff like that, but they are trying to cater to everybody as best they can. I think the town is trying really hard to make this place a progressive, hip town and I’m all on board.”
What once used to be a pub full of tables, chairs and a bar has since been replaced by popular streetwear, skateboards and snowboards, extreme sports gear and a collection of antique bikes. H.A.F. has racks of the most popular skateboarding and motocross gear, new boards for both concrete or snow, and even has a tattoo parlour inside.