The Pig that Became the RAM

I will never forget the first time I saw her. The old building at 1209 Commerce Street in Downtown Lynchburg was ugly as sin–an old lady with big ol’ warts. She had forest green cinder blocks where windows used to be, for crying out loud. Inside, maroon shag carpet and wooden paneling adorned her worn down walls.

Lord, this is perhaps the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen, I remember praying. But somehow, she seems like the one for us.

The building at 1209 Commerce was our first baby—brand new to us, despite her 95-year history. She kept us up late at night, required lots of attention and was, in every step, a labor of love. With the work of our business partner, John “Bubba” Barrick, the work of Max Henderson – J.M. Henderson Construction, and the vision of what she could grow up to be, 1209 went from being a total pig in need of some serious lipstick to a RAM (short for the Renaissance Academy of Martial Arts, the business that now calls her home) – For more on RAM.

Daryl can tell you more about it, since he actually put sweat equity into it, while I mostly just sweated around it (I was quite pregnant during most of the renovation process), but I can tell you that she–ugly as she was–whet our appetite. Our desire to create, or recreate, as the case may be. A passion to restore. A hope for the next project.

She will always be our first baby; our first love. She taught us a lot–about tax credits, the power of sand blasting dirty walls and, of course, ourselves. Today, she is a beautiful place, filled with light, but still reminiscent of her history as a plumbing company.

But I will never forget the way she looked the day I fell in love with her, green cinder blocks and all.

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