Freddy’s on Main is a new multi-functional rental space on Cardston’s historic Main Street, where history, functionality, and family converge. Run by Pam and Derick Heggie, the building was purchased mainly to function as a space for Pam’s High Fitness classes, but also quickly became part of her desire to keep her late fathers memory alive, honour other family who had passed on, while becoming a crucial part of the beating heart of Cardston’s community. A 115 year old building, the space boasts two large open areas of 2,500 square feet that can be rented out for a variety of functions. After taking possession of the building in March 2020, the Heggies began demolition and found that behind the paneling, drywall, backing, and cement plaster, there was hidden century old brick that they’ve now left exposed for a vintage feel. The second floor existed as a glorified attic for the last 50 years because of failing trusses, lack of insulation, and lack of heating. Pam’s heart has a fondness for history and she has loved teaming with her husband to rebuild the trusses under the direction of professionals and begin the process of renewing the original hardwood upstairs so the old space can be made new again. Pam gets emotional in the old space, and feels she can’t peel herself away from it. One fun surprise the couple discovered is the old bowling lanes on the main floor they now hope to restore and add to the antique vibe they have created in the space.
Pam comments “we didn’t know we were serious about Freddy’s until the day we bought it.” In 2018 Pam had finished qualifying to teach High Fit and longed for the flexibility and availability her own space could afford her. Pam and Derrick casually looked for a location that could be used 5-6 days a week for High Fit, and double as a versatile source of secondary income relatively stress-free. She shared her dream plan with her dad, Fred, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer the same week she certified. 11 months later, when her father, Fred Lacey, passed away, she expanded the dream and imagined creating a space where she could honour his memory while working through her grief. Pam has experienced several other major losses over the last 12 years and now plans to honour her brother, Boyd Lacey, and twin boys Shepard and Deacon, with memorial areas inside the building. Naming the space after her dad has also been difficult, as she transitions from calling a person Fred, to calling a building Freddy’s. She is happy with her choice though and comments “I didn’t even have to think twice about it. I didn’t need everyone else to remember him. I want to remember him. It was the cherry on top and it feels meant to be”. She adds that teaching in a space she owns feels like an out of body surreal experience, and a major part of her healing and honouring her grief.
The Heggies looked at purchasing other spaces, but Pam’s love of history kept drawing her back to the old pawn shop wishing it would go up for sale. She remarks “it felt like fate was calling my bluff the day I found out the pawn shop was for sale. It checked all the boxes- the asking price was just what I was looking for, the second story, the dilapidated-type vacant building we could spruce up.” Once they found out the space was available everything happened very fast. There were other offers coming in, so the Heggies offered the asking price with no conditions within a day of Pam viewing it. Pam observes “It felt like we were jumping out of an airplane, skydiving. It was a huge risk to offer asking price with no condition of an inspection, but my husband trusted me even without seeing the inside.” Only 5 days later, right near Pam’s birthday, the offer was accepted.
The day the Heggies took possession of the building coincided with the March 2020 shut down, which meant Derrick, a teacher, now had the flexibility of a home-school schedule and their whole family could work together to demolish and rebuild the space. The Heggies tore down old walls to open up the main floor, sold off the old pawn shop items, and within 9 days the main area was cleared out enough for the first indoor class. When restrictions got tighter, classes moved to the Lions park in the warmer weather, which Heggie said had a very “Gilmore girls” vibe with everyone working out in the park together. Upon opening classes officially in SEptember, Pam sold monthly memberships for her class at first, and appreciated the support she received from other fitness instructors who rented the space until indoor classes were no longer allowed. As COVID restrictions continue, Pam has had to creatively re-navigate the business plan. Every month has been leaner than the last, and what once could be a workout space, had to become more of a retail space or private space if it would be allowed to continue to function. On December 11th, the Heggies hosted a Christmas Market at Freddy’s with reduced capacity and were blown away by the amazing community support. Pam says “that’s the first we really opened the doors to the whole community to let them support us in some way. It was 100% all based on people showing up for us- and they did.”
Being new to the downtown community has brought its challenges though, especially during pandemic times. Onlookers have questioned if families who rent the hall for pickle ball or indoor birthdays are all from the same household and following government guidelines. The Heggie’s are doing their absolute best to make sure the rules are followed and are keeping their patrons safe with sanitizer, a clean space, leaving the space empty to air out between renters, and a keyless entry. Pam shares “It feels like a gift every time someone rents to come play pickle ball with their family”. The Heggies are soldiering on, and Pam comments “every single week it feels like it’s different. I never know how to advertise cause I don’t know what I can advertise for”. While she wants to keep the community safe from COVID, she also gets frustrated that the government seemingly picks and chooses who earns a living and who doesn’t. She writes letters to the government when she feels especially discouraged, but mostly just uses her creative soul to keep herself open to new ideas going forward. “You can’t put a number on the lost income for things I would have done here if I could have,” she shares, “I wanted to have a New Years eve gala, but instead I bought a pickle ball net”. For someone who likes to host big events, wants to see renters using her new space, and wants to see the community thrive, it has been quite a blow to watch the restrictions press on.
The Heggies imagine Freddy’s on Main being a place where the community can come together and create memories. They hope to rent it out for big and small life events like weddings, social dances, a bowling league, roller rink nights, family reunions, birthday parties and more. Pam says “we’ve had photographers rent it out for pictures, we’ve had little families do household birthday parties with scooters and roller blades. The pickle ball has been fun for families, and we recently had it rented for a proposal”. She imagines what it would be like as the memories continue to grow and 30-40 years from now the same couple who got engaged in the same rent it out for an anniversary or family reunion. If you would like to rent out the space you can email the Heggies at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep your eyes peeled on their social media sites (@Freddysonmain, @highfitishpam, and Highfit Pam Cardston on Facebook) for a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting once social gatherings are safe again.
Elizabeth Thompson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star