April 1, 2023


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Nixa, Mo. family announces project to replace old mill with new food and entertainment hall

3 min read

NIXA, Mo. (KY3) – A Nixa family is taking on a new project to turn an old mill into the area’s first-of-its-kind food and entertainment spot.

Rich and Leah Callahan began knocking down parts of the old Nixa Mill on Wednesday, to soon replace it with their project “14 Mill Market.”

“This particular property was one of the first homesteads in Nixa in the late 1800s,” Leah Callahan said. “It was originally built as a farm of 80 acres. And in the 1950s, it was sold to Barney Weisner, and he and his wife Lois actually built the feed mill.”

The Callahan’s said the mill continued to operate as an active feed store until about two weeks ago. The couple plans to build a 12,000 square foot food hall on the property. Inside the food hall, there will be 10 different vendor spaces, which the family describes as “mini kitchens” or restaurants. There will also be community seating, a bar, outdoor entertainment activities, and an outdoor stage for live concerts.

The couple said the idea is to collaborate with other local vendors to provide a site that offers a variety of food options and entertainment.

“It allows chefs that either have catering trucks or ideas that don’t have the ability or want to go to their own brick and mortar style facility,” Rich Callahan said. “So it allows them to come in and actually have a kitchen and concept or a food truck that’s tired of chasing venues down. Now they have a place to come all year-round.”

The couple said they wanted to provide a new type of entertainment to Nixa since Christian County is such a fast-growing community.

“There are a lot of homes in here that still have to go outside of Nixa if we want to do anything,” Rich said. “So we really wanted to give back to Nixa. We love it here. And we thought, what could we do not only for Nixa, but we feel like the Ozarks will benefit from what we’re building.”

But the pair say they also want to preserve part of the original mill’s history.

“I was wanting to pay tribute to the mill,” Rich said. “Our original plan was maybe to even keep the mill and build on to it, but it was in such a state that the architect said that we weren’t going to be able to do that. So we re-engineered a plan to kind of bring some of that architecture and bring a lot of the old aspects of the mill to keep the tradition of what it was even though it’s changing into a new project.”

They said they plan to incorporate parts and pieces of the old mill into the new design.

“We’ve been able to find some really cool trinkets just hiding in the buildings that we are saving,” Leah said. “It’s been very important to us since the building could not stay. It’s very important to us to kind of try to salvage some of the pieces of the mill, including some of the architecture of it to utilize in our development. So yeah, we are keeping hold of a lot of the old signs, and some of those pieces so we can reuse them.”

The couple said the idea to build a food court was inspired by a recent trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“We had never been to a food hall but for a few years, we had been wanting to invest in something in the Nixa area for our population and just didn’t land on what exactly that was,” Leah said. “This just allows for a perfect opportunity for a restaurant to go in a small space, serve a lot of people with very minimal staff while bringing the community together.”

Cinder blocks and scrap line the property. The next several weeks and months will involve clearing the property, and then eventually beginning the development of the project. The Callahan’s have already worked with architects to plan the 3.6-acre development.

The couple said depending on supply shortages and the building market, the project could be done as soon as eight months. Both said they would be happy with a year and are optimistically hoping to open it next summer.

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