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COLUMN: Boost for the economy

After struggling through a holiday season filled with cold, flu and pneumonia symptoms and their debilitating after-effects, I was looking for something on a more cheerful note when the new year rolled around.

I found what I was looking for in a conversation I had earlier this week with John Whitson, a Birmingham commercial real estate developer.

Whitson, the new owner of Hartselle Plaza Shopping Center, is renovating approximately 46,000 square feet of the building for two new businesses.

Hartselle Conditioned Storage and a packing and shipping outlet is occupying 26,000 square feet of space next to Tractor Supply Co.

The space is filled with 360 climate-controlled, self-contained storage units, ranging in size from 5 feet by 20 feet to 10 feet by 20 feet. The rental units will have electronic access and be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A full-service packaging and shipping store will be located at the front entrance and will operate on a normal business day schedule.

The storage/shipping business will observe a grand opening Feb. 15.

The remaining 20,000 square feet of floor space, which was previously occupied by Piggly Wiggly, is being renovated for Farmers Home Furniture.

A tour of the renovated space with construction superintendent Rick Caldwell revealed that the work is high quality and nearing completion. All of the businesses should be up and running within two to three months.

That’s not all. In addition to the new businesses, Whitson is replacing the shopping center’s facade with a new stucco look, upgrading signage and making other exterior improvements.

These new improvements combined with the soon-to-open The Dollar Tree Shopping Center on U.S. 31, north, give rise to a promising business growth year for Hartselle.

In the words of Mayor Don Hall: “I applaud Mr. Whitson and other developers for what they are doing to strengthen our business community. It’s a good sign for Hartselle as we move into a new year.

Clif Knight is a staff writer for the Hartselle Enquirer.