New businesses to keep original look

Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Brian Stensrud is currently renovating the community building he recently purchased. While the building will continue to serve as a community building and event center, what will happen to the old City Hall is still unknown. Jordan Troutman/

Exeter sees change on Front Street in three buildings

Brian Stensrud, co-owner of Stensrud Homes and Construction in Exeter, is bringing a new, yet vintage, look to Front Street.

After purchasing three buildings on Front Street last year, Stensrud has been working toward bringing something new to the community, while also appreciating the construction that took place in 1928 after a fire damaged the original buildings.

Brian Stensrud has purchased three buildings door-to-door on Front Street in Exeter over the last year. He has been renovating them, as well as highlighting the 1928 architecture. Jordan Troutman/

“The first building we purchased a year and a half ago and turned it into Front Street Furniture Gallery,” he said. “We renovated the front into a show room, did plumbing, electrical work, walls, floors; we took out the drop ceiling and brought back the 1928 ceiling, and we redid the whole back into a workshop.”

The new business buys real wood furniture, fixes it and resells it.

“It used to be the old A&W Flea Market,” Stensrud said. “We also purchased the Exeter Community Building next to it about a year ago.”

Stensrud was hopeful that he would be able to purchase all three buildings eventually, and he did purchase them each at separate times.

“In the community building, we put in all new electric, floors, paint and sheetrock, and we are putting in a new kitchen,” he said. “We are working to renovate it back to the original look in 1928.

“The community building will continue to be a community building and event center, but the name has yet to be determined.”

The third building purchased is next door to the community building, the old City Hall.

“It was purchased in November 2020,” he said. “We are still working on the community building, so we are still unsure what we will be doing with the old City Hall building.”

With a deep love for the community, the Stensruds want to see new things happening.

“We don’t want to see it die, and no one was upgrading anything, especially those buildings,” he said. ‘We love this town and we love history — we wanted to bring them together.”

Stensrud said a fire in the 1920s damaged the buildings, but they were restored in 1928.

“Nothing has been done with them since then,” he said. “We are bringing those ‘20s features back to life.”

Three of Stensrud’s four children graduated from Exeter, and the family has been in Exeter for 15 years.

“I watched these buildings deteriorate and talked about doing something about it,” he said. “When the opportunity presented itself, we jumped.”

Stensrud has a few things in mind for the old City Hall building, and is excited to start working on it.

“I am trying to help this town stay alive,” he said. “We love our town of Exeter.”

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