Different Perspectives

My husband Bart co-owns a bar/restaurant in our small lake town. If you’ve read this column before, you’re aware that this business has been a rollercoaster in our lives. In the beginning of our relationship, it was fun for our date nights and helped me get to know many locals when I moved to town. However, there is a constant battle to find staff; COVID-19 resulted in fewer patrons; and today’s higher prices have prevented some of the usual eating crowd from coming back regularly. Owning this business just hasn’t been fun for us anymore—and with a small child at home, our priorities are elsewhere. Consequently, the bar has been for sale for more than a year but the aforementioned challenges have deterred buyers.

Four years ago, my husband changed banks (he’s a full-time agricultural loan officer; the bar was his “fun” side gig) to one that is known for building branch locations for the right employees. In a recent development, the bank has offered to buy the bar from Bart, and they are determining now whether it will be retrofitted into a branch rather than building new. We are thrilled! It’s a wonderful opportunity for my husband (not to mention a possible story for retrofit!).

We recently made the announcement public on social media and have hung signs in the bar, alerting customers to its final day of operation. As you can imagine, our friends and family have been supportive but the general public has been quite negative. It has been disheartening for me to read the online comments, especially because I know the many struggles we have endured with this business. Bart is taking it in stride though, saying we have to do what’s best for us. I worried he would feel like he’s letting down our small community but he’s looking at it as an opportunity to help the community in a different way. I appreciate the unique perspective he always brings to our marriage. He and I are complete opposites and—in many ways—that is a plus.

Different perspectives also are what I love most about the Metamorphosis Awards program, which is the focus of this issue of the magazine. Each year, our team assembles a group of judges who bring their particular expertise to the table while judging our many entries. This year’s judges—Katie Hunt, architect, LRK; Amanda Markovic, AIA, principal, GBBN; Charles Van Winckle, vice president, Thornton Tomasetti’s Renewal practice; and Ross Welch, AIA, NOMA, LEED Green Associate, associate, Trivers—really dug into the entries. They asked great questions. They pointed out nuances others may not have immediately seen. Sometimes they had personal experience with a project based on living in the city where the project was located. They challenged each other to look more closely. They truly were invested in choosing deserving projects and were a lot of fun to work with.

Ultimately, this year’s judges chose 22 winners—the most we’ve ever published and a testament to the quality of projects we receive for the Metamorphosis Awards program. Learn more about the judges and judging process, and view more photos of the the winning projects on our website. We hope you enjoy perusing the 2022 winners!

About the Author

Christina A. Koch
Christina A. Koch is editorial director and associate publisher of retrofit.

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