Hibbett Sports coming to Atmore
By By Janet Little Cooper
Hibbett Sports is among the latest in a recent influx of retail stores that are setting up shop in Atmore.
The sports store is tentatively scheduled to open on Jan. 27, 2007 in the shopping center that houses one of Atmore's most recent businesses, Peebless Department Store located on Nashville Avenue.
"Our plans call for the last Saturday in January for opening day right now, but that may change as things progress," Tiffany Bonner, real estate manager for Alabama, said. "We came through town and checked out the market and made the decision to come in early fall probably."
Bonner said that the move to Atmore is something new for Hibbitts.
"This is something new for us," Bonner said. "We normally do not open a store in a town that does Center. We do have stores in Bay Minette and Brewton, but both of those either have a Wal-Mart or a super center."
The store, which caters to themed sports merchandise, will occupy a 5,000 square foot building situated between Peebles and Rent-A-Center.
"The standard size of our stores are 5,000 square feet," Bonner said. "Atmore is just one of the more than 600 stores we hope to have opened by the end of January. We cater to themed sports, so we will have merchandise for all sports such as baseball, basketball and football as well as a line of Alabama and Auburn apparel and merchandise."
The new store will employ six to eight people according to Bonner and will be open seven days a week. Store hours will be based on other businesses in the area.
Hibbett Sports(r) has more than 600 stores in 23 states with growth plans that call for an additional 15 percent store growth according to the companies web site. The retail sporting goods store features name brand merchandise from brands such as Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Wilson, Under Armour, Oakley and Ecko.
Another retail clothing store that caters to both men and women will follow Hibbetts grand opening with a tentative Feb. 1, 2007 opening in the Winn-Dixie shopping center located on Church Street.
Factory Connection, based in Albertville, is planning to open its 200th store in Atmore according to the store's president, Terry Scott.
"Small towns are our specialty and Atmore is the perfect fit for us," Scott said. "We are extremely excited about coming to Atmore, we have wanted to come here for a long time and feel this is the right location. I am sure the people of Atmore will enjoy shopping at Factory Connection with its great selection of name brand fashions at low prices."
Factory Connection is celebrating its 30th anniversary with stores located in 11 southeastern states.
The retail store, which first opened its doors in 1976 in Guntersville, specializes in providing junior, misses, plus and men's fashions at affordable prices. Factory Connection stores offer brand name fashions and department store labels at 25 to 60 percent off regular price.
Atmore mayor Howard Shell is excited to see more businesses take interest in Atmore and investing in the town.
"It is certainly nice that we have all of these businesses seeing growth potential in our city," Shell said. "The recent influx of growth that we have experienced over the last year is a sort of renewing of our city after suffering the devastating effects of both hurricanes Ivan and Dennis. It is heartwarming to see these companies taking an interest in our city and investing in Atmore."
The placement of a new Walgreen's store on South Main that is scheduled to open in the early part of 2007 contributed to the relocation and new building of David's Catfish House giving it a big city flair, while construction of the new McDonald's is progressing swiftly.
"McDonald's has been with the city for years, but obviously saw the growth potential in Atmore by choosing to tear down the original structure to build a more modern facility," Shell said. "And then of course, we have Walgreen's coming in at the old David's location and we have stores such as Peebles that just recently came to town. It is a tremendous growth spurt for the city."
The old David's Catfish building, which originated as The Ponderosa in the 1960's, was torn down Thursday afternoon making way for the construction of Walgreen's.
The demolition was bitter sweet for Atmore residents as The Ponderosa was viewed as a landmark for many, holding many memories of first dates and party burgers.
"For those who have been in Atmore since the 1960s they would have fond memories of The Ponderosa which was the original name for the Faircloth's restaurant," Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Emilie Mims said. "Robert Faircloth's party burgers were a staple that many of us grew up on through the seventies into the early nineties. Not only do we have fond memories of the food, but also of its lure as a drive around place to be seen."