If all goes as planned, Williamsville's historic but financially troubled water mill will open for business Saturday to continue the long autumn tradition of selling apple cider and fresh baked goods.
"We're getting cleaning supplies together to go over there," said Garrett Mayer, the fifth-generation owner of Mayer Bros., which operates a similar business in West Seneca.
The Village Board agreed Wednesday to a lease with Mayer Bros. to operate the cider and baked goods business in the mill, on Spring Street off Main Street.
Williamsville's old red mill has been closed since the village bought it out of foreclosure earlier this year, hoping to preserve the site. At less than an acre, the parcel is small but sits atop the escarpment, offering sweeping views of Glen Park and Glen Falls. The village considers it a landmark.
"We're very excited," Williamsville Mayor Mary E. Lowther said. "It's a good match for the village, a good match for residents and we can drink as much cider as we want now."
The opening provides a rare piece of good news for the mill, the center of controversy since its financial failure.
Village trustees have been under fire for paying $450,000 for the site, which is assessed at only about $277,000. They now are scrambling to revitalize it into a revenue-generating operation while retaining its historic nature.
Local developer Skip Cerio has expressed the strongest interest, but his proposal includes building high-priced condominiums -- and a majority of the trustees said Wednesday they were not interested in residential construction.
Mayer Bros. had hoped for a longer-term lease, but that will depend on how the rest of the mill site develops, officials say.