Downtown Sumiton no longer a ghost town

By RICK WATSON
Posted 11/10/18

SUMITON – Main Street Sumiton looked like a ghost town until this summer when Heather Nelson, Paula Birmingham Moore, and others decided to do something. With the blessings of the City of Sumiton, …

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Downtown Sumiton no longer a ghost town

Posted

SUMITON – Main Street Sumiton looked like a ghost town until this summer when Heather Nelson, Paula Birmingham Moore, and others decided to do something.

With the blessings of the City of Sumiton, they started giving Main Street a facelift.

Nelson and her husband purchased several of the old buildings and began renovations. One eye sore was an old concrete apartment building at the corner of State and Main Streets, which belonged to the city. Nelson attended a city council meeting and asked that the building be demolished. The city agreed, and within a matter of weeks, the building was gone.

Recently the city had a concrete slab poured on the lot.

“We really haven’t made any plans on what to do with the spot,” Mayor Petey Ellis said. “They poured the slab to make the area more appealing."

The first business opened in one of the refurbished buildings mid-October. Solon L had been doing business in Country Village, but they wanted to move where it was more open, according to Britney Laird, who owns Salon L.

“There is a lot of excitement from all that’s going on downtown. It’s been great!” she said. “We’ve loved it so far."

She said that Main Street is really busy, which will be good for business. It will make her salon more visible.

“It’s great being a part of something that was once old but is now new,” Laird said.

The entryway to a building a few doors down from Salon L was like a beehive. At least three men in trucks made deliveries in an hour. The sound of screaming electric saws and hammers came from inside.

Standing under a newly installed sign, Joey Clark took a moment away from his work to describe the business that has people around Sumiton talking. Clark and his wife Nancy are opening a coffee house.

“The name of the business is The Blend Coffee House,” he said. Their catch phrase is "Come Together."

“Different ingredients come together to make a great coffee drink. Our idea is to make The Blend a place where a blend of people from the community come together, have a good time, experience fellowship, and have a cool place to be,” he said. “It won’t be a Christian coffee house, but it will be a family-friendly place,” Clark said.

The Blend will offer not only regular coffee from around the world, but specialty drinks like cappuccinos, lattés, mochas, and other drinks.

“Some people might say they don’t like coffee, but we will offer a lot of specialty drinks,” Clark said.

The Blend will also offer muffins, sweet rolls, and other high-end pre-packaged specialty food items for their customers.

Clark, who trained at O’ Henry’s Coffee in Homewood, said, “The coffee beans will come from around the world, but they will be roasted locally here in Alabama." 

Nailing down an opening date for The Blend is hard because renovating old buildings is difficult. The Blend’s website is www.theblend.biz, and they also will have a Facebook Page.

Nelson weighed in to say that she is getting requests from people every day who want to open a business on Main Street.

“I really can’t talk about specifics right now, because nothing is set, but you can expect more,” she said.

The Main Street Committee is also hard at work on the Main Street Jubilee event on Nov. 23, which is the Friday after Thanksgiving. They plan to have train rides for the kids, sell Christmas Trees, have a portable ice-skating rink available, and a tree-lighting ceremony that evening.

From the looks of people driving down Main Street these last several weeks, it’s obvious they no longer think looks like a ghost town.