In 1916, August A. Busch Sr. spent $250,000 to build the Bevo Mill, his own private dining room, as a halfway site between his home and the Anheuser-Busch brewery of which he was president and CEO.
It was remodeled to the tune of $1 million around 1986, and then again in 2009 to the tune of $500,000.
What drew folks to spend that much money is not that hard to understand — they were chasing their dream, their goal.
The Bevo Mill, subject of this month’s Uniquely St. Louis feature story, is unique for its history and place as an authentic Dutch windmill.
While the building has been owned by the city of St. Louis since 2008, the dining operation has been owned by Milan Manjencich and Louie Lausevich, as L&M Catering.
Manjencich says they didn’t realize the 2009 renovation was going to be as large of an investment as it was.
“Everybody from the city on down told me the renovation would cost about this much, but when it came to fruition it was about five times as much,” he says. “It’s been a large investment on our part.
“All the electrical, plumbing structural integrity of the mill and the balcony that goes all the way around was replaced. All the doors and windows, without affecting any of the historical ones, were replaced or repaired. The main rooms and lower-level rooms were all repaired.”
Updates that were made included safety measures such as a sprinkler system, fire suspension system, hoods and emergency exits.
“We also removed all the items that had been added over the years to the dining room and restored it to the way it was originally when it was opened in 1916,” Manjencich says.
It was Manjencich and Lausevich’s aspiration to restore the site and see it come to reality. If they had been scared off by overspending their budget, the project might have never been completed.
A CEO I recently interviewed says it is important for an entrepreneur to keep striving for a goal and to avoid the thought that he or she has reached as far as possible.
“I think it is impossible to get to that point because I might be where I want to be; and the company employees have dreams, goals and aspirations — people are building their careers with the company,” he says. “And if I say, ‘Hey, I’ve had enough. I’m fine,’ well, that kind of messes them up. I can’t do that. So we continue to grow and develop the company for the betterment of all our people, our partners and our communities in which we do business.”
Community is another key factor with the Bevo Mill. The landmark has given its name to the neighborhood in St. Louis where it stands — all the more reason that the jewel in the crown was enough reason to see that it survives for the people and the community.