A former Monticello gas station and convenience store is realizing a new life as an event center.
Cindy and Brad File have opened Kindred Hearts Event Center in the former Cruiser’s Gas & Goods at 1547 E. Broadway St. in Monticello.
The Files purchased the former Cruisers two years ago after the building sat empty for about four years, Cindy File said.
Ironically, the couple leaded the very same space in the 1990s and ran their own convenience store at the location.
“I always liked the location,” Cindy File said.
When she drove by the closed Cruisers several years ago, she again became interested in running a business out of the location.
But unlike running a convenience store as the Files once did, Cindy had a different idea this time around.
Cindy File had joined a fitness program in Monticello the program was in need of a new home.
“The program changed my life inside and out and I wanted to find a place for the owners,” Cindy File said.
Was it a crazy idea? Maybe.
“But I’ve never said, ‘Cindy, you’re crazy’,” Brad File said.
Brad File was in the process of stepping back from his “Fyle’s Excavation & Honey Wagon” and was slowing down. He retired from the Monticello Fire Department after decades of service, and had stepped away from his civic duties, that included being Monticello’s one-time mayor and most recently, a long-time member of the Monticello Planning Commission.
“I was all in,” Brad File said of Cindy’s idea of opening an event center.
Now the Files own a center envisioned as a place for fitness, yoga, kick-boxing and even dancing.
Along the way, Kindred Hearts may have found its true calling.
It’s becoming a local go-to site for wedding receptions workshops and other gatherings requiring a larger space.
“I didn’t know how beautiful it could look until we had it all set up,” Cindy File said.
Amy Walz of Amy’s Cherished Events has been instrumental in helping the Files making Kindred Hearts a reception destination.
Converting a gas station and a convenience store into an event center didn’t come easy.
“It was two years of do-it-yourself work, Brad File said.
There were coolers and freezers to remove, counters and other equipment to remove, and floors and walls to refinish.
There were many friends who helped along the way, the Files said.
“This is a totally new venture for us,” said Cindy File, who was a longtime employee at a local dentist’s office.
The couple didn’t expect Kindred Hearts Event Center to have its final inspection in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But that’s the card the Files were dealt, and they received their certificate of occupancy, which allowed the center to be open at the end of May.
“I love how rustic and woodsy it is,” Cindy File said of the interior setting of Kindred Hearts Event Center.
“I think its going to be a nice addition to town,” she said.