The next evolution of the Stevens Building on South Main is well underway, as the first tenant in the newly renovated main level is open for business.

Evolution Salon and Day Spa welcomed clients at 225 S. Main in early January.

It wasn’t a difficult move, said owner Jen Cooley, as Evolution only had a few blocks to shift from their previous location at 24 S. Main.

“It took us about three hours to move,” Jen said, noting the most difficult part was cleaning the Stevens Building floor before placing equipment. “The girls all came down and helped.”

Scott and Jen Cooley bought the 47,000-square-foot Stevens Building in July 2018. Renovations began shortly after.

In the future, the Cooleys plan to add other commercial space on the main level, and apartments and possibly an Airbnb on the upper floors.

Scott Cooley sat on the Downtown Hutchinson Advisory Board for five years, and the Cooleys already have experience reviving one downtown building. They remodeled the 1900 building that used to be the former New York Hotel in 2010 to open Evolution Salon and Day Spa in its first location.

“We looked at the Stevens Building 10 years ago, but it was just too much space at that time,” Jen explained. “It was just me and one other girl, so we wanted the salon in a smaller space first.”

Now, the business is ready to step forward, she said.

The salon now occupies about 7,000 square feet — double the space it filled before — and offers designated spaces for the boutique and spa.

“We had a few boutique items at the old location because we just wanted to try it out,” Jen explained. “Racks were just kind of stuck everywhere, but it went really well. Now we have space for it, and we added dressing rooms, too.”

The move also allows Jen to expand her staff to 20, which includes hairstylists, nail technicians and massage therapists, so the salon and spa can offer a whole slate to clients.

“This was my dream,” she said. “The other space was what we had to work with, but this was an open space.”

The open layout of the Stevens Building was a blessing, but it brought some challenges, Jen explained. The large room can make a noisy salon louder, but she had total creative control over where sections of the business were located.

“In the spa, we tried to create as much quiet as possible,” Jen said, pointing out a separate waiting area and large doors that close off the hall to spa rooms.

The antique elevator placed in the spa waiting area will also be transformed into a waterfall feature, she said, which can also soften salon chatter.

Local historians said the 1876 section of the building to the south is the oldest standing building in Hutchinson.

That section was constructed for the Water Power Company under the organization of town founder C.C. Hutchinson. Cow Creek used to be diverted four miles to alongside the south of the building to turn a water mill.

At the other end of the block, The Burt has recently opened with The Crystal Ballroom event space on the second level, and commercial space below. The building belongs to Fair City Folk Art which is owned by Lucinda Piligian.

The block has also seen improvements with the 2007 expansion of Smith’s Market.

Jen hopes that the block continues to work together to make Hutchinson a destination for visitors. A wedding party could be pampered at the spa before a reception at The Crystal Ballroom.

“There’s a big need for something like this,” Jen said. “It creates a destination and the need to come downtown and explore.”

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