Coffee shop, new event center all part of growing Belmont neighborhood

Dayton’s Belmont neighborhood is growing the number of businesses with lifestyle offerings that complement the family-owned shops already there, residents and business owners say.
The latest announced move is that of Press, the coffee bar that plans to open a second location at 732 Watervliet Ave. Press opened its first location at 257 Wayne Ave. in the Oregon District in 2011.
It will join a planned events center, a gym and other shops that neighborhood advocates hope will grow into an even more robust business district.

are headed to Dayton's largest neighborhood.

“This is definitely a good thing for Belmont,” said Reggie Swickard, president of the Belmont Eastmont Hearthstone Community Council.

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Press will be in a vacant storefront that is bookended by True Love Tattoo Parlor and Belmont Catering. The store is still under construction, but the hope is to open in the first quarter of 2019, said Janelle Barker, who co-owns the business with her husband, Brett.

The new coffee bar will serve its own roasted coffee beans, which are under the name Wood Burl Coffee. The store will sell pastries from the Blue Bike Bakery and Evans Bakery in Old North Dayton. Press serves four to seven types of single-origin coffees.

The new store will have the same kind of minimalist and Scandinavian atmosphere and design as the original, Barker said.

Belmont is a walkable neighborhood that has nothing like Press in the area, and many people who live there are coming to Wayne Avenue for coffee, she said.

“We love that community,” she said.

One block north of the future coffee bar is a property at 638 Watervliet Ave. that has been renovated into an event center called the Belmont Club. The space originally was a grocery store, and it has also been used as a bar and restaurant, a thrift store, a facility for casket displays by Tobias Funeral Home and a home for Hazy Shade Disc Golf before it moved across the street.

The owners, Kym and Dave Mehaffie, have restored the embossed-steel ceiling, grounded down the floor to bare concrete and added concrete countertops. The space is decorated with reclaimed metal artwork and is lit by strings of Edison bulbs.

The Mehaffies added new garage doors and unique touches, like repurposing an old machine stand to be a table top.

“There’s a lot of personality here,” Dave Mehaffie said. “We love the fact that’s an old building that’s completely different.”

They expect the Belmont Club to be popular for weddings, concerts and special events like fundraisers. There’s an outdoor area on the east end of the building that is enclosed by metal gates, where food trucks could park, they said.

The Mehaffies hope to open the club by the end of the year, in time for the holidays. However, they need approval from the city of Dayton to rezone the property from mercantile to assembly.

The Mehaffies also own the Belmont Gym next door at 630 Watervliet Ave. They changed the name about two months ago from M Fit Strength.

The gym, which celebrates its three-year anniversary in February, has suspension and kettlebell training, an obstacle course, a climbing wall and lots of other fitness offerings.

The Mehaffies purchased the building that houses their gym, the northern portion of which is a former bank where Dave Mehaffie’s father used to work. The bank space still has the original vault.

“We’re trying to rent the bank, and we’ve got a couple of people looking at it,” Kym Mehaffie said.

Belmont has fewer empty homes than many Dayton neighborhoods, and residential property values are rising, according to officials and auditor data. In 2010, it by far was Dayton’s most populous neighborhood, with nearly 9,500 residents, according to the U.S. Census.

The new businesses coming in are high quality and are reusing empty spaces while offering products and services not currently available in the business corridor, Swickard said.

Swickard said the area has acquired some new options for sweets, like the Partial to Pie bakery on Shroyer Road and Sweet Retreat Ice Cream, Food & Sweets, which moved into a former Dairy Queen on Smithville Road.

“We have almost everything you need around here,” said John Mott, director of Belmont Catering.

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