Shep's Club in Downtown Fresno undergoes transformation during pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Drinks are brewing inside the new coffee shop at Shep's Club in Downtown Fresno.

The former Shepherd's Inn has a new name and has undergone a transformation.

"We had to pivot. We had to do something different so we went with a deli, we're focused on to-go food and we just completely changed things up. We put a grocery store in to help us become an essential business so we're not going to have to worry about being open, closed, constantly," said Russell Stone, Shep's Club Owner

Russell Stone is the owner of Shep's Club, which formerly operated as a basque restaurant along Sante Fe Avenue.

"When COVID hit, we just locked the doors. We kept everything locked up. I just kind of walked away. I was thinking it would be three weeks, four weeks, months came on, months came on. I ended up having to get a job in construction," Stone said.

During this time, undercover billionaire Elaine Culotti asked for a place to stay, while filming for Discovery.

Stone and his team are on this season of the show, where the businesswoman helps the business grow in a different direction.

"I had the most cooperation and collaboration and that is all Fresno. When I left Fresno, I missed Fresno. I wanted to keep coming back to Fresno," said Elaine Culotti, Undercover Billionaire.

In addition to the coffee shop and deli, there's a farmer's market with local products and locally grown produce.

A speakeasy or bar is also up and ready for future members.

Upstairs, work was done on the inn and rooms have been listed on Airbnb.

"I was forced to change, but I'm happy with the change," Stone said.

A new chapter for this longtime business owner and his employees who are happy to be back open.

You have a chance to see the changes yourself. The coffee shop here at Shep's Club is open Monday through Saturday. In the future, they hope to open their patio to a larger audience.
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