Randy Durant isn't afraid to get his hands dirty.
But rest assured he'll wash them before he makes your soup.
Durant, the owner of Zoupwerks-Kent, is hanging the drywall himself in the roughly 1,200-square-foot storefront at . The Kent store will be Durant's second. He started the business in Champion, OH.
Covered in drywall mud, the New England area native talked about his goal to open sometime in September while plastering the store Tuesday morning.
Durant said he came to Kent because the project's architect, Doug Fuller of the , has long been a fan of his soup recipes at the Champion location.
"And he became such a fan, when this development was under way he had me in mind as one of the tenants," Durant said.
The Champion store, opened four years ago, has developed a cult following in a small market, he said. Durant followed Fuller's suggestion because he wants "to become more mainstream. We all want to succeed."
The Kent store is in a prime location, as it stands at the corner of Erie Street and the stairway that connects to the original Acorn Alley development.
Durant credits his New England heritage as to why he can make a tasty, popular soup.
"That's why I can make good 'chowdahs,'" he said. "As in New England clam. In this world of chains, everything's box stores and chains. I'm trying to stay relevant."