A love of cigars drove a current Buda business owner to consider lighting up a new business idea.
By renovating the old Farmers National Bank building along Main Street, Jeff Beal plans to open his new business, the Cigar Vault, on April 1.
Beal, who owns Olympia Hills Gymnastics in Buda, said he was inspired to open the business based on his fondness for stogies of all types.
The lounge is designed to be a smoking lounge, with a bar serving beer and wine and the antique bank vault serving as a humidor where customers can purchase cigars.
“Of all the ones (cigar lounges) I have seen, this one is meant to be a culmination of them all,” Beal said.
While the old bank building provided a lot of “old bones,” Beal understood the need to provide a facelift for the structure, in order to open the new business.
The last time the old bank building was occupied was decades ago. The structure served as a display area for artwork and glassware by the former property owner, who also stored antiques in the building.
Beal said the floors, roof, sign and bars on the windows are original, as are the old bank vault and safe in the structure. Other aesthetics that remain are the original lettering on the windows from the structure’s history as a bank.
Beal said lighting, air conditioning, electrical wiring and plumbing are all new elements, which cost Beal $50,000 total to complete.
In keeping with the antique feel of the structure, Beal also invested in a chandelier from Europe that hangs from the vaulted ceiling, and a section of replacement fencing from France.
Beal also intends to have a rock mason build a side patio onto the building and put a door where currently a window is located to provide access to the outdoor patio.
But he also gained approval from the Buda Historic Preservation Commission earlier this month to add a new touch to the old sign that overhangs the door.
The HPC gave Beal approval to use the original Farmers National Bank signage for a new sign, which will be designed by Lynn Wilkerson, owner of Great Big Signs in Kyle.
Wilkerson, who created the Texas Pie Company sign in Kyle, will incorporate a vintage clock into the Cigar Vault sign, which will be crafted using the framework from the old sign.
“We’re trying to stay vintage and use antiques whenever we can,” Beal said. “That’s what we are, a vintage cigar lounge where people can come to relax.”
Back in 1926….
‘Flapper Bandit’ strikes Buda Bank
The soon-to-open Cigar Vault is located in the second Farmers State Bank location. The original Farmers State Bank was up the street. Back in 1926, in the original Farmers State Bank’s location, Rebecca Bradley, a 21-one-year-old student at the University of Texas in Austin, decided to rob banks to pay her college tuition. First, she set fire to a vacant house near downtown Round Rock and rushed into the nearby bank thinking the employees would be distracted by the blaze. When that plan failed, she drove south of Austin to the Farmers National Bank in Buda and pretended to be a newspaper reporter as she made careful notes while interviewing local farmers about their crops and government policies. She secured permission to use the bank’s typewriter inside the teller’s cage. After a time, she pulled a .32 automatic, herded both employees into the walk-in safe and fled with $1,000 in five-dollar bills. Her Ford Model T coupe got stuck in the mud on the way back to Austin. The bank employees used a screwdriver to jiggle their way to freedom, and by the time she reached home she was arrested. Newspapers across the country went nuts reporting on the pretty, little coed who they dubbed the “flapper bandit.” Above is a photo of Rebecca Bradley soon after she was caught. History and photo from Buda Texas: Celebrating 125 years.