DEFIANCE, Mo. – It’s a sleepy weekday morning in Defiance, but there are signs business is waking up.

“You can’t beat local ownership,” Rex Baumgartner said.

He is eager to see the progress at outside Wente’s Roadhouse on Highway 94, slated to open this weekend under new, local management.

“I’ve lived out here for 24 years and, last year, it kind of deteriorated a bit with the traffic flow,” he said. “But now that this is under new management, I think the whole Defiance area is going to be revived.”

Reviving and revving up business was at the heart of the Hoffmann Family of Companies’ plan to turn the area into the Napa Valley of the Midwest.

“I think you’re going to have an experience that’s like none other. California is amazing. It’s amazing, but California started in the 70s. We’ve been here since the 1800s. It’s special,” Jerri Hoffmann said during a March 2021 interview with FOX 2.

Billionaire investors David and Jerri Hoffmann have ties to Washington, Missouri, but Hoffmann Family of Companies calls Florida home. Locals tell us that’s one of the biggest reasons they were skeptical of the project.

“It’s just too much. Too many irons in the fire. We kind of expected that it would pan out like it did,” Baumgartner said.

Three years after the company spent $150 million buying existing wineries, businesses, and properties in towns like Defiance and Augusta, many have closed, and some are for sale.

In a statement, Hoffmann Family of Companies said: “For 2024 and beyond, HF Companies continues to invest in our Augusta-area wineries and related businesses and our goal of expanding national distribution. HF Companies feels confident we provided a jump start to the local business community and are thrilled to support new owners as they take the lead on many of these companies through either a purchase or lease.”

“We’re the first local owners to buy back from Hoffmann. I think that’s a good piece. We live right here; we’re very invested in the community,” Tiffany Winkler said.

Winkler and her husband, Larry, are turning the big green building on Highway 94 into Circle 6, a concept that spawned from the family’s nearby beef and pork farm.

“Anything from meat to eggs to milk, homemade bread, honey,” Winkler said.

With a food truck, plans for live music and much more down the road, the Winklers want to be here for the long haul.

“I’m really excited. I’m excited to open. I’m excited to provide for the community,” Winkler said. “I think this really embodies by the community for the community, which is what Defiance needs.”

And with local people buying back local buildings, there is a strong foundation for the future.