#625 – The Correll’s Vision

Posted on | The Agurban

We are so pleased to share with our readers one more story about how one person, or in this case, one couple, has made a difference in their small community. Thank you to Stephen Taylor with the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation for sharing the story of Jess and Angela Correll and Stanford, Kentucky.

The Correll’s Vision

I totally agree that a profit-minded benefactor to spur small town revitalization is a powerful force to give rural communities a renewed sense of purpose, hometown pride and economic opportunity. I would like to offer you another town to check out.

Founded in 1775, Stanford, KY is another small-town phoenix (http://www.stanfordky.org/).  With a 2010 population of about 3,500, it the county seat of Lincoln County and is located about 45 miles south of Lexington in the middle of rolling farmland.  Guided by the vision of husband and wife team Jess and Angela Correll, the historic downtown district is blooming back to life as they buy buildings and renovate one storefront at a time.  My wife and I used to drive through it on our way to other places, but now it has become a favorite destination.  Jess is a banker and small business investor/entrepreneur and his wife is a novelist and entrepreneur.

The Bluebird Café, run by acclaimed chef Bill Hawkins, is the town’s main attraction (http://www.bluebirdnatural.com/). Jess Correll and Bill are the owners.  Jess provided the capital to open the restaurant and Bill moved from Cincinnati with his family to craft a menu and run the business. My wife and I have visited the café for lunch or brunch many times sharing this gem with our out of town guests.  Lines out the door are usual occurrences because the café regularly draws diners from 50 miles or more every day.  Welcomed with a warm smile and seated in a restored building with tin ceiling, it’s an effort to make just one choice from a couple dozen or more menu items sourced with food from within 25 miles of the restaurant.

The Correll’s have a definite vision for this small town and their vision has resonated with many others, some who have recently moved from California because of the slower-paced life, and the strong sense of community and opportunity fostered in this little town.  It’s worth checking out.