The corner of 11th and State streets is saying goodbye to letter jackets and hello to diabetes management. A new Healthy Living Center is under construction by the Treasure Valley Family YMCA in the building formerly occupied by Nelson School Supply.
The YMCA bought the building, and a smaller building just west of it, last year. The site of the smaller building will become a parking lot.
The former Nelson store will be home to a wellness center focusing on prevention and management of diseases such as diabetes, heart and lung conditions and Parkinson’s. It also will offer programs for cancer survivors and people wanting to lose weight.
Many of those programs already are offered at the Downtown Boise Y across the street. But the new building — with renovations to make it accessible to people with disabilities — gives the nonprofit’s healthy-living programs their own space. The Y, in partnership with local health-care providers, plans to use the new space to expand programs and services to meet community health needs as they arise, said Mary Biddle-Newberry, director of the Healthy Living Center.
Biddle-Newberry said the Y paid “slightly higher” than the appraised value for the property. The county’s assessed value this year was $287,800 for the Nelson School Supply building and $184,000 for the building to the west.
The Y hopes to open the new Healthy Living Center this spring.
Nelson School Supply lives on
Nelson School Supply will continue to operate as a non-storefront business, according to owner Ric Nelson.
The business that was founded in 1939 vacated its longtime home Oct. 1.
“We’re still in business. We still sell direct to schools the things that they have ordered from us for decades,” Nelson said. “But we’re completely out of the retail end of things.”
Nelson said customers “begged us to stay in the letter-jacket business ... so, we are hosting letter-jacket sales in our home. It’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”
A recent home sale was to a family for which Nelson School Supply has now fitted three generations of young men with letter jackets. Nelson’s father once sold a jacket to the youngest generation’s grandfather.
“That’s a little hard to walk away from,” he said.