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Rexall building receiving new lease on life


Sweet Owen Contributor

JAMES ABNER, above right, recently purchased the historic Rexall building located on Owenton’s West Seminary Street. The two-story brick structure, built in 1895, is the “capstone project” of Downtown Owenton Revival, a non-profit catalyst for downtown revitalization. Abner plans to transform the space into a restaurant.

One of Owenton’s historic commercial buildings has been purchased and is another step closer to being resurrected as a viable, bustling downtown business.

James B. Abner, an Owen County native and entrepreneur, purchased the former Rexall building, a two-story brick structure built in 1895. Once it’s restored, Abner plans to open a restaurant.

“I own a convenience store in Vevay, Indiana, that I travel to daily, and our food is restaurant quality. I have a special love for Owen County—after all, I was raised here and graduated from Owen County High School in 2007,” Abner said.

Calling food his passion, Abner has always aspired to one day open a restaurant locally. Having looked at several retail properties and land, he felt the historic building at 135 West Seminary Street would be the best fit for his plans.

“I can’t wait to start putting life back into this old building right here in the heart of downtown Owenton,” Abner said.

Abner is no stranger to historic building renovation projects. Working hard over the past 20 years in the convenience store industry—the last four as proprietor of his own store—has allowed him to own one of Owenton’s oldest historic homes, the L.O. Cox house on Main Street.

“The former Rexall building preservation project has been a labor of love by Downtown Owenton Revival since the group’s inception in 2019. We are so excited to see its future unfold and grateful to James for his investment in our community,” Jenni Duncan, Chairperson, said.


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