Historic Standard Oil building to have new life

Entertainment, hospitality venue planned

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Garrett Goodman of Marshalltown poses at the former Standard Oil building, 502 S. First St. He purchased the building in 2015, and plans to restore the historic structure into a entertainment venue serving beverages and food. The entrepreneur said previous experience working in Central Iowa restaurants and other businesses will be an asset.

Two young Marshalltown entrepreneurs are thrilled to be joining the ranks in fulfilling the American dream — having their own business.

Garret Goodman and his fiance, Dani Cameron-Cruz have deed in hand, blueprints on the walls, and started what will be a lengthy process in turning the former Standard Oil Co. building at 502 S. First St. into a entertainment venue which will also serve beverages and food.

“I looked at 10 properties in Marshalltown,” he said. “And this is the one that stood out to me right away … with some of the things I am looking to do with music events.

It is a great layout, an open palate … I love the look. We aim to keep it “industrial” while we can … restore it .. keep the vibe of this building. It is part of the town’s railroad history.”

A stone’s throw away is the Union Pacific Railroad’s railroad yards where east and west-bound freight trains will add their fast-paced “clickety-clack” sound.

“I love this part of it,” said Goodman, as he stood on the solid wood planks of what was a former loading dock looking out at the dozens of freight cars. “This is where the deck and patio are going to be. Folks will be able to come out here on the weekends and get brunch, lunch, or dinner maybe.”

Goodman and Cameron-Cruz accurately envision capitalizing on what is expected to be a large number of bicyclists who will be congregating one-half block west at Wilson Circle, the starting or end point of the Iowa River Trail, a 34-mile recreational trail from Marshalltown to Steamboat Rock.

But it is the rock-solid building, constructed in 1914, with its brick and steel I-beams, as the foundation of the couple’s venture.

Goodman believes some of the buildings best days are ahead, including serving as a wedding reception site especially for he and Cameron-Cruz when married next year.

He will manage the business while she continues

her career as an educator at Anson Elementary School.

Goodman is a former Emerson Process Management/Fisher Controls IT staffer who voluntarily left the company almost one year ago after a combined 11 years, savors the thought of being his own boss after gaining useful experience working for others.

He worked for the former Webster’s Den restaurant in Laurel and was the Tremont’s kitchen manager

Goodman also plays in the six-member Land of Blood and Sunshine a local music group started in 2008 by Joel Downs.

That experience is driving the entertainment plans for the former oil warehouse.

He envisions one floor of the mammoth building as a recording studio where up and coming bands can cut sample recordings of four or five songs.

“Back in that corner will be a stage for bands … we will have a full bar … but not be like a tavern open every night until 2 a.m. We will have alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks.”

Also planned will be a full-service kitchen, including catering.

“It will not be exclusively a restaurant open every night,” he said. We will not be open a lot during the week.”

The Marshalltown City Council has been supportive of Goodman’s plans for the area, vacating an alley earlier this year and voting unanimously to sell a part of the former South First Street to Goodman for $1, plus attorney and other associated legal and transfer fees typical in buying property from the city.

At-Large Councilor Leon Lamer and First Ward Councilor Dan Kester made recommendations during a council meeting to help make the sale a reality.

Second ward councilor Joel Greer has been a strong supporter of the project.

“I am eager to see this move forward,” he said. “It will be an excellent fit with the IRT and other development in the community.”

Goodman comes from a business-oriented family, citing relatives who had restaurants/bars or insurance businesses.

“My great-grandfather, Milt Nicholson, had Milt’s Restaurant years ago (currently Rumours Sports Bar & Grill) … he had four or five other restaurants in town … my grandfather John Brennecke sold insurance.”

Restoring the building, his wedding, and Land of Blood and Sunshine are but three things on Goodman’s plate.

Soon will be a fourth.

To be launched soon is a already-outfitted food truck, complete with a kitchen equipped with propane-fueled stoves.

The former laundry truck was outfitted to Goodman’s specifications, and will be out serving once necessary permits are acquired.

He is ready to test tasty-sounding sandwiches and other fare on the public.

“We have a plan where we can grow and change what we need to,” said Goodman in speaking of the ventures. “This is what we are making our life out to be … good food and good drinks,” he said.


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com