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A Place for Locals

From the Summer 2024 Issue

New ownership and local management bring new life to Cedar Street Bridge



Even a casual observer of Sandpoint would be hard pressed to name a more iconic downtown landmark than the Cedar Street Bridge. After more than a century as a linchpin in the Sandpoint core, its story mirrors the community’s transition from mill town to resort destination. First it was a wooden footpath, then a wagon route and car bridge, and, finally, a one-of-a-kind public market. Now it’s adding another chapter, with new ownership, local management, and a host of ideas intended to provide a pathway from the past into the future.

“We really see it as a bit of the center point of the community,” said owner Joseph Worth, who purchased the landmark at the beginning of the year. “Between the location, diversity of businesses, and uniqueness of the property, it carries this ability to pull the community together.

“So much of the world is focused on competition, but we see the bridge as the opposite,” he added. “We see it as a cooperative environment that hopefully people feel and experience when they visit.”

Worth is a 48-year-old husband with two daughters who lived in San Diego until 2023 before his family moved to the Dallas suburb of Southlake, Texas. He is an entrepreneur and currently runs a film studio in Fort Worth.

His connection to Sandpoint came in 2020, when Worth and his family traveled north to visit a close friend—“who is more like family”—who had relocated to town. Since then, Worth reckoned he’d been back between five or six times, and “can’t seem to stay away for long.

“The people, the beauty of the area and the quaintness of the town have made it a respite for us,” he said. “We tend to slow down and really connect with people when we visit, so it’s become very special to us.”

The close family friend who introduced Worth to Sandpoint—and the bridge—was Stacey Mueller, who the Worths knew from their San Diego days. Today she is the Cedar Street Bridge property manager who, together with longtime tenant Shery Meekings, provides day-to-day troubleshooting, collaboration, and leadership to the more than 20 vendors who call the 400-foot-long, 30,000-square-foot bridge home.

“We want to lift it up to the place where I think it’s meant to be,” Mueller said, “and I don’t think it’s ever achieved that place yet. And I think it takes someone that has a heart to see that and to be here and be a cheerleader to gather the team.”


Meekings agreed that Mueller provides the “missing piece” to the inner workings of the Cedar Street Bridge, being a full-time, onsite property manager with “such a heart for this building”
“She would just show up on her own time to come and love on this space,” said Meekings, who has been a bridge tenant for 15 years as owner of Carousel Emporium and Creations with her husband Scott, who also owns Creations Toy Store. “It’s by no mistake that we’re sitting here together.”

Mueller described Shery and Scott Meekings as “torchbearers and the ambassadors for the bridge” over the years.

“Shery and Scott, they really carried the heartbeat of what makes the bridge special,” she said.

Worth also remarked on the tight-knit nature of the bridge community, saying that, “When the opportunity came, investing in the bridge was a natural expression of our love for Sandpoint.

“From an investment standpoint it’s a non-traditional type of thing; we just believe in the people and community and see a long-term rising tide of interest for North Idaho,” he added.

Both optimism and spirits are high at the bridge these days, with Mueller and Meekings both pointing to plans including more gathering spaces such as a family dining option (or two) and an expansion of Creations to include a “LEGO experience” that will be geared toward older kids all the way up to adults, with a LEGO club, building challenges, and other events.

The Sand Creek-facing patio will be open for the summer, and there are plans in the works for creating “The Loft”—a second-floor hangout spot to be constructed above the cafe at the First and Cedar entrance. “Vacancies are filling up so fast my head’s spinning,” Mueller said.

“We want to get it back to the place where it’s the third place,” Mueller said, describing a location where people can go between home and work.

“You gather there with friends, family—you create great memories. You have to have a spot that makes way for that,” she said.

Meekings agreed, saying the past two years have seen a lack of gathering spaces “where people can sit and gather and share life.”

The new breath of enthusiasm at the bridge follows a period of controversy, as the most recent owners—California attorneys Claire and Frank Fox—made waves when they bought the space in 2022 and immediately instituted steep rent increases that resulted in an exodus of vendors, all while putting in place a number of restrictions on tenants and customers alike. That went up to and included putting locks on the bathrooms and requiring visitors to ask business owners for the keys.


“The very first thing we did when we got the keys was we took the locks off the bathrooms,” Mueller said. “[B]asically what it was saying was, ‘We say yes to our guests,’ and that’s kind of what we want to bring back into the bridge. … [W]hat we’re going to do is go straight into that good space, where the heart of Sandpoint and of the tenants and the community are first and foremost.”
Meekings echoed that, describing the new bridge philosophy as, “heart, friendliness, and creativity—and history.

“We want our community here. That’s the point of this big beautiful building,” she said, noting that in her time on the bridge she’s worked with six different owners, each bringing different strengths and challenges, but leading to a rebirth of the community spirit of the space.

“We’re at this beautiful place now—I don’t think we would have Joseph as an owner right now if we didn’t go through all that,” she said. “We have this amazing set of hands holding us now, and we have all these experiences to bring together and lift this thing up even higher and reach our community and have it shine as it should.”

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