The Helmsburg General Store. Ben Kibbey
The Helmsburg General Store is in the process of being purchased by Indianapolis businessman Leonard Richey. Ben Kibbey

General Store getting next owner

HELMSBURG — The Helmsburg General Store has been for sale for more than a year, and now its future is looking a little more certain.

Leonard Richey and his family regularly visit the Helmsburg area to stay with friends, he said. They could not stand the thought that the little store might be lost forever if owner Karen Sooy couldn’t find a buyer.

The store with its pictures of hunters and fishermen, its morning coffee and its table out front for warm-weather gathering has stood at the corner of State Road 45 and Helmsburg for more than a century.

The sale is still pending as Richey awaits final permits, but he is eager to take on the responsibility, he said.

He doesn’t plan or expect to make any major changes. He wants to keep providing everything Sooy has offered the community since 1988.

Small improvements may be made or products added as needed, he said. More than anything, Richey wants to preserve the store’s place in the community.

Richey, who owns LSR Construction in Indianapolis, would like to retire to Brown County some day. But he and his wife, Sharon, have four children in school, so retirement is years off.

Once the sale is final, he will be hiring someone to run the store on regular weekday hours.

The whole Richey family loves coming to Brown County, and he expects to be putting hours in behind the counter with them. “My kids would love to run the store on the weekends,” he said.

Robb Besosa stands in front of the series of shops he envisions as a working, historical village. Ben Kibbey
Robb Besosa stands in front of the series of shops he envisions as a working, historical village. Ben Kibbey

Family, stories and rustic tables

The Besosa family wants to take part of Nashville back to a century ago.

Robb Besosa bought the building on North Van Buren Street that sits just downhill of the Brown County History Center’s Pioneer Village. He has plans for a community of shops that will dovetail with the work of the historical society.

The entire property — four shop spaces and a house — will share a 1920s to 1930s theme.

“My hope is that this becomes part of a working, historical village,” he said. “Shops are great, and I think it’s what draws people here to Nashville, but I would love to create an experience in this whole building.”

The three northernmost shop spaces should be ready for renting by mid-August, Besosa said. He wants to artisans to move in who are willing to work within the theme his family is creating.

The final space — the southernmost shop and the former coin shop around back — will be the Besosa family’s working wood shop, Hoosier Barn and Table.

Besosa and his two oldest sons, Isaiah, 14, and Luke, 11, already work together. Two or three times a month, he takes them to his construction business, and they spend hours in his home woodworking shop.

“At Christmas, we go into full project mode. We make gifts for each other,” he said.

In the downtown wood shop, the Besosas will set up belt-driven woodworking machinery from the ‘20s and ‘30s.

That machinery is coming from Brown Countian Fred Mueller, who has multiple private museums of equipment, collected over the past several decades.

The workshop will have a “corral” area where visitors can watch the family at work, Besosa said. They will pause to talk and share stories of Brown County.

The family will create children’s toys such as guns, slingshots and marble games, as well as unique decor items from reclaimed wood.

The shop’s specialty will be rustic tables. Each table will come with a picture and story of the barn the wood came from and what it was used for.

The entire Besosa family loves the history of Brown County, Besosa said. His sons can almost recite the stories of George Monroe.

“It’s a family deal, and that’s why we’re doin’ it,” Besosa said. “We’re real excited about it.”

Besosa hopes to have the vacation rental — The Buffalo Nickel — completed by the first week of July.

The name comes from a story he was told by Charles “Buzz” King, who delivered papers to the house as a boy. He recalled the day the woman who was living there showed him the first two nickels her family ever made in Brown County.

Artisans interested setting up a vintage-themed shop alongside Besosa’s Hoosier Barn and Table can contact Besosa at 812-597-5444 or

Salt Creek Winery owners Nichole and Adrian Lee stand in the newly refurbished Salt Creek Winery Loft in Nashville. Ben Kibbey
Salt Creek Winery owners Nichole and Adrian Lee stand in the newly refurbished Salt Creek Winery Loft in Nashville. Ben Kibbey

Wine and a place to sleep it off

Salt Creek Winery is opening a tasting room and vacation rental in downtown Nashville.The tasting room, 26 N. Honeysuckle Lane, will not be open until at least the fall, but Salt Creek Wine Loft above it is ready to rent and already being reserved, owner Adrian Lee said.

Though the rental has been renovated and has new furniture, the new owners have kept the feel of the former Honeysuckle Hideaway, Lee said.

A vacation rental within steps of beer, wine and spirit producers should appeal to couples and groups of friends, Lee said.

He and his wife Nichole have a tasting room at their winery just south of Houston in Jackson County, but that’s a 30-minute drive from Nashville.

Still, they get plenty of business out their way, Adrian said.

But after retiring as a chemist with a pharmaceutical company, he said he wants to put more into building the business, and having a location in Nashville is the next logical step.

Adrian had brewed beers for about 15 years before he tried wine. It was his wife’s idea.

After they shared their wine with friends, requests to buy more flooded in, so the couple decided to get a license and enter commercial production.

Beginning at farmer’s markets and wine festivals in 2010, the Lees built their current winery and tasting room in 2012.

They use grapes and juice from all over the United States, Adrian said, but their popular sweet and fruit wines are from grapes grown in Indiana.

Adrian enjoys dry wines himself, and they also produce two dry reds — a merlot and a cabernet sauvignon — and a dry white riesling.

Big Woods Speedway . Photo courtesy of Big Woods
Big Woods Speedway. Photo courtesy of Big Woods

Big Woods Speedway opens

SPEEDWAY — Brown County-based Big Woods has opened a restaurant in Speedway, adding to locations in Nashville and Bloomington.It’s the first time that all of the company’s three alcohol-related brands — Big Woods “gastropubs,” Quaff ON! craft beers and Hard Truth spirits — will be combined at a single location, Big Woods reported in a press release.

The new restaurant near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway serves many signature foods and beers available at the locations, along with two new craft beers to commemorate the new location, Main and 10th Amber Ale — named for the corner address — and Turn 1 Lager.

Much like in Nashville’s Big Woods Village, the 75,000-square-foot facility is broken up into various named venues: Turn 5 Bar and Main Dining Room; Hard Truth Saloon; Quaff ON! Beer Garden; and The Gem, a private second-floor dining room.

Its timber-frame construction has earned the awe of several Indianapolis-area reporters.

Partner Jeff McCabe said that the new facility lets the company showcase all it has to offer as they work to build a tradition that Indiana can be proud to call its own.


Mondays to Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to midnight

Sundays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Roseboud's Cellar in Morgantown. Photo courtesy of Gretchen Lucas
The entrance to Roseboud’s Cellar in Morgantown. Photo courtesy of Gretchen Lucas

Morgantown boutique focuses on locals

MORGANTOWN — Rosebud’s Cellar Boutique in Morgantown is the realization of a mother-daughter team: to run a unique women’s clothing store.

The store, which opened April 30, carries new women’s clothing, purses and “shabby chic” jewelry — a vintage style with modern twists, said co-owner Gretchen Lucas.

Most of the jewelry is created by a Morgantown designer.

It’s not the first business Lucas and her mother, JoNell Hickey, have had in Morgantown. Both have run hair salons, Hickey for 35 years and Lucas for four years.

“We love being a part of the small town and have lived here our whole lives,” Lucas said.

Lucas said they hope to catch the eye of tourists on their way to and from Brown County.

The downtown building — which Lucas owns — dates to 1831, she said.

“Along with many other Morgantown residents, we would like to see Morgantown thrive again,” Lucas said.

“Small towns like ours need all the support from local residents to make it these days.”

Hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Location: 19 E. Washington St., Morgantown. Entrance is around back.

Author photo
Ben Kibbey is a Brown County transplant from the cornfields of central Ohio. He covers county government, business, outdoors, sports and general news.