The business climate is sizzling in downtown Jasper as restaurants and retailers continue to pop up around the district. The Brown Building at the corner of 19th Street West and …
The business climate is sizzling in downtown Jasper as restaurants and retailers continue to pop up around the district.
The Brown Building at the corner of 19th Street West and Elliott Boulevard is one of the most recent renovations in downtown. The building that once housed a coin-operated laundry facility for many years is now refurbished with a modern gray exterior and two storefronts.
Melissa's Flowers is now occupying the left space of the building, and the right space is available for rent.
"It's a blank slate. It's perfect," Jasper Main Street Executive Director Mike Putman said.
Michelle's Bakery is in the process of moving from its current location on 19th Street East to the old Gracie's BBQ location.
Gracie's BBQ recently closed its doors and was housed in the old First National Bank drive thru at 20th Street West. The business is still taking barbecue pre-orders and looking for a larger location, according to its Facebook page.
Michelle's Bakery will tentatively open at the old drive thru in April, Putman said.
"To me, it's one of the most unique buildings downtown, and for somebody to go in and make something of it, I think that's just great," he said.
People are already reportedly showing interest in opening another business in Michelle's old space.
Another business to recently relocate is Ella's Boutique. Ella's was located along Highway 78 in Jasper, but the business has now moved to 19th Street West in downtown, next to Young Jewelers.
A Jasper favorite, Five Loaves Bakery, will be opening its own storefront in downtown in late April or early May. The bakery is currently housed in Black Rock Bistro on 19th Street West. The new location has not been announced.
One new restaurant was welcomed by a large crowd in downtown Jasper this month. Rock-N-Roll Sushi on 19th Street West celebrated its grand opening in early March and is the first sushi restaurant to locate in the district.
Outside of retail and restaurants, Putman says Mike Wiginton is renovating some business offices next to Economy Cleaners on 19th Street East; the Rotary Club of Jasper recently repainted the Rotary clock in the downtown square; and the Kiwanis Club of Jasper is working with Jasper Main Street, Friends of Downtown Jasper and other organizations to develop a gateway sign for downtown Jasper that will be placed at the corner of 19th Street East and Euclid Avenue.
"It's one of the milestones," Putman said.
Wayfinding signs, which will direct visitors to landmarks and points of interest, are also in the works and should be up in downtown by the end of 2018.
New banners will be placed downtown in August, and trees are continuing to be planted in the district. Street work continues as well.
Putman reflected on downtown's progress since 2014 in an interview with the Daily Mountain Eagle last week, and he said it's remarkable to see the progress made in a short amount of time.
"It is not a one-man show. It's not the Mike Putman show," he said. "This has come together because of this board of directors for Jasper Main Street, Main Street Alabama, the city of Jasper, the Walker Area Community Foundation, the Walker College Foundation and Friends of Downtown Jasper — all of those standing committees of volunteers that want nothing but for downtown Jasper to grow and prosper."
Putman also said downtown continues to flourish because of the knowledge of all parties involved.
"I do think it's good for your director to not be from here, because I see things that they don't see," he said. "At the same time, they know things that I don't know. It's a good marriage."