Hip to be on the square

Husband and wife Paul Porter and Haylee Derryberry are opening a bakery and beer garden at the Shannon Building at 20 W. Jackson. They'll offer an event this weekend for Farm-City Days.



October 14, 2021 - 10:21 AM

Clarification: A previous version of this article regarding a haunted house planned at the Shannon Building at 20 W. Jackson needed some clarification.

A second haunted house, The Slaughterhouse, also is planned for Oct. 22-23 and 29-30 at Iola’s Riverside Park.

That venue will be organized by Allen County Dance Parents Fundraising and the competition dance team from Miss Chelsea’s Dance Academy, and will include a kiddie haunt.

Part of the group’s mission is to stress the importance of giving back to the community, noted Nikki Peters, one of the organizers.

In that vein, organizers will offer s’mores in exchange for a $1 donation or a non-perishable food item. 

Proceeds will be donated locally, Peters said.

There have always been nights where Iola’s downtown square is abuzz with activity, be it from weekly Iola Municipal Band concerts and farmers markets to larger events, like the upcoming Farm-City Days celebration.

Paul Porter is eager to see more.

He and wife Haylee Derryberry are the new owners of the Shannon Building at 20 W. Jackson.

Their dream is to open Derryberry’s Breadery, a bakery that showcases Derryberry’s talent in crafting sourdough bread, bagels and other specialty breads. 

If you want to sample Derryberry’s bread, she’s a frequenter at the farmers markets. But be prepared to stand in line. They are that good.

The couple is working to secure financing to make their dream a reality.

“I’m hoping to get it going around the first of the year,” Porter said. “Hayley thinks it may be a little longer.”

They will offer more than a simple bakery.

Just this week, Porter and Derryberry received a cereal malt beverage license to allow them to sell craft beers, and offer up the building to use as a performance and event center as well.

“The main thing is the breadery,” Porter explained. “The beer is kind of a bonus. We want to bring something new.”

He compares it to brick oven pizzerias with their own breweries.

“We want to make it ‘stickier’ for people walking around the square,” Porter said. “A place for craft beers and artisan bread.”

He noted establishments at each of the other corners on the square — places like Rookies, Southwind Cycle and The Outsiders — draw regular crowds several nights a week.

The desire is to do the same at the intersection of Jackson and Washington, Porter said.

“There should be a place on every corner,” he said. “We have the largest square in the country. Let’s act like it.” 

WITH THE BREADERY still months away, and Porter and Derryberry have other plans to get things hopping earlier.

The timing of the CMB license from the city — coming the same week as Farm-City Days — allows them to offer up a beer garden Saturday evening (and maybe Sunday, if the demand is there.) Call it a Farm-City Days Oktoberfest.

Plans for that came up at the last minute, Derryberry chuckled.

“We figured we have our beer license,” she said. “We might as well have a beer garden.”

In addition to an assortment of craft beers, the couple will set up a stage for live music through the evening.

Porter, already scheduled to play guitar on the live stage adjoining the courthouse earlier in the afternoon, plans to play a medley of tunes with his partners Casey Cook and Jake Riebel inside the building that night.

Others are welcome to do the same.

EVEN BEFORE the dust settles from this weekend, the couple will be among those working feverishly to help prepare the building for another October staple — Halloween.

Plans are taking shape to utilize a portion of the building for a haunted house, complete with spooky spectres, gruesome ghouls and wicked witches.

Some of the details are still being finalized, and won’t be until Porter and Derryberry get permission from the state fire marshal’s office to have the haunted house in the building’s basement.

Lea and her family already have put in place several features, Porter and Derryberry noted.

“The inspectors are working with us,” Derryberry said. “They want this to be successful. They want it to be safe for the kids.”

The fun is slated to start at 6 p.m. Oct. 22-23 and 29-30, with a full-scale Halloween party in the works on Oct. 30, complete with karaoke, costumes and lots of decorations.

The first hour of each night, from 6 to 7, will be reserved for the youngest kids, Derryberry said.

“We’ll keep all the lights on, and won’t have any scary music then,” she said. “They’ll walk through and get candy at the stations.”

After that, the spook factor ramps up for the older visitors. “The grown-ups and the teenagers,” Derryberry said.

Of note, the haunted house is one of two planned for those nights in Iola.

The other will be at Riverside Park and organized by the mothers of many of the dancers who will be a part of Miss Chelsea’s haunted house.

Ideally, visitors will take in both spots, Porter and Derryberry said.

And if the couple can’t get the basement cleared by the state?

“We would probably work out something else,” Derryberry said. “We’ll still have a Halloween party, and still have people up here.”


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