Sterling developer refurbishing vacant bottling plant to make custom furniture, cabinets – Shaw Local

2022-03-12 06:00:40 By : Mr. Jack Liang

Architect Skip McCloud's vision of what the old Stewart Beverage building at 1307 W. Fourth St. will look like as the home of Sterling developer Scott Hibbard's new custom cabinet and furniture manufacturing business, Sterling Woodworks. (Skip McCloud & Associates)

STERLING – Local developer Scott Hibbard, owner of Hibbard Builders Inc. and well known for his passion for restoring and rescuing the historically decrepit, is starting a new business at the other end of the spectrum.

The craftsmen at Sterling Woodworks will design, manufacture and install brand-new cabinetry, as well as millwork and interior and exterior doors. Custom furniture services will include live-edge tables and other products, and staff will help with any level of design assistance a customer wants.

Developer Scott Hibbard has big plans for the long-vacant Stewart Beverage Co. building at at 1307 W. Fourth St. in Sterling, which includes transforming it from the eyesore it is now to a sleek new facility where custom furniture, kitchen cabinets, millwork and more are manufactured. (Alex T. Paschal/

The manufacturing facility will open soon in the long-vacant Stewart Beverage Co., two buildings that sit on nearly 2 acres at 1307 W. Fourth St., which Hibbard bought last summer for $450,000.

He immediately began remodeling and hiring cabinetmakers.

He and his business partner, co-owner Corey Gabler, will be working with locally owned Frary Lumber, with locations in Sterling, at 2707 W. Lincolnway, Prohetstown, 412 Washington St., and Fulton, 915 Second St., that also sell and install kitchen cabinets.

The fenced-in site’s buildings, one about 11,200 square feet and the other about 26,200 square feet, are being extensively remodeled, and professional manufacturing-grade woodworking equipment is being installed.

He and Gabler gutted the buildings’ interiors, replacing the plumbing and the electricity completely, Hibbard said.

“We ripped everything out and started over.”

A view of one building at Sterling Woodworks, as it is now and how it will look once exterior work is done. (Skip McCloud & Associates)

When the work is done, there also will be a full-spray room, an assembly area and a shipping department.

They expect to begin production May 1, he said.

They will start with nearly a dozen cabinetmakers, as well as a design team to help builders and individual clients with their kitchen designs, and with their custom furniture ideas, which will include the popular live edge designs.

They’ll offer three levels of products – good, better and best – at three different price points. “We’ll have the ability to do whatever that client needs” and can afford, Hibbard said.

“There’s a standard, and it has to be met. There’s no way I’m going to lower that.”

Frary, too, has a kitchen design team that also will work with Sterling Woodworks’ clientele, and their stores will feature interactive displays of the company’s premade products.

“We primarily don’t want to be a big retail outlet, we would like to work through a local lumber yard,” Hibbard said.

It’s important to Hibbard that he works with other local enterprises as much as possible, so that if Sterling Woodworks succeeds, so will they. He’s a big fan of that “rising tide floats all boats” business model, he said.

An addition to the Sterling Woodworks plant, as it is now and how it will look after it is integrated into the redesigned building. (Skip McCloud & Associates)

“We wanted to create a project that would enhance another business like Frary. We want to enhance what’s already in the market. I don’t want to divide the pie into smaller and smaller pieces. That doesn’t help anyone out.”

The next phase will be to do the exterior work, he said.

“Once were done with the production facility, we’re going to build out the facade, that’s where our displays will be,” he said.

Sterling architect Skip McCloud, of McCloud & Associates Architecture, whom Hibbard works with often, is designing the sleek new facility.

“One of our objectives for the business is to enhance the look of the city,” Hibbard said, noting that the building sits at the western gateway to the city.

The developer in him knows that “you really want to bookend your town” – in this case, to build up its east and west entrances – and he’s happy to be bringing a project of this scope to the West End, which has not been getting the same upgrades that the east entrance to Sterling has been seeing.

Developer Scott Hibbard is renovating the former Stewart's Beverage building on the west side of Sterling into a custom cabinetry and furniture manufacturing facility. (Alex T. Paschal/

Phase three will feature further expansion of the manufacturing facility.

Hibbard said he’s pleased with his hires, all of whom are experienced and talented, and, like him, raring to go.

“I have a great team; there’s not much that can slow us down.”

Stewart Beverage was established in 1937; among other things, Pepsi-Cola was bottled there for decades.

Rock Island-based beverage bottling company A.D. Huesing Corp. bought the building in May 2018 for $500,000. Huesing was sold that November to Madison, Wisconsin-based WP Beverages, which sold the site to Hibbard.

In addition to new construction and commercial real estate development, Hibbard Builders has renovated or remodeled several buildings, among them the historic Moses M. Royer home at 401 E. Second St., and several downtown Sterling businesses, including the Mattox Insurance Agency, UOI, BB Kids and Merle Norman.

Its office at 601 W. Third St. also is in a historic brick Italianate, the McPherran House, that he and Gabler renovated.

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.

Copyright © 2021 Shaw Local News Network

Copyright © 2021 Shaw Local News Network