Locally owned ellenJAY recently celebrated their fifth anniversary by landing a massive contract with San Francisco-based, multibillion-dollar retail and e-commerce giant Williams-Sonoma. The deal may have a transformative effect on the small, innocuous boutique bakery that’s currently located at 2158 Airport Blvd. in Midtown Mobile.
The concept for the company was established around 2009 out of a kitchen by two local friends and entrepreneurs, Jennifer Conrad and Lauren Kapeluck, and an official business entity was formed in 2014. Today ellenJay occupies a 1,500-square-foot repurposed property.
According to Conrad, around $100,000 was spent to transform the former office space into a functioning bake shop that now employs 10 workers.
“We are relaunching a new website this month and continuing to grow our online presence,” Conrad said. “In the next few years we hope to open another brick-and-mortar space, either downtown or across the bay. We also hope to eventually set up a franchise to expand out regionally, and maybe even nationally.”
Kapeluck credited Mel Washington, regional manager for the University of South Alabama Small Business Development Center (SBDC), as instrumental in developing next-level plans for their small company.
“Mel helps us with the big picture, helping us analyze our sales, figure out what’s not being produced efficiently and see where we can reduce our expenses,” she said. “He also recently nominated us for South Alabama’s Real Advice Mentoring Program (RAMP), and we were recently accepted.”
Business moves, transactions
Marcus & Millichap recently announced the sale of a Take 5 Oil Change franchise, located at 3949 Airport Blvd. in Mobile, for $1.292 million. The property includes a 1,980-square-foot service building that sits on 0.65 acres of land, according to Joseph W. McKibben, regional manager of the Mobile office.
Andrew Chason, first vice president of investments at Marcus & Millichap’s Mobile office, and Preston Cooper, senior associate in their Birmingham office, listed the space for the seller, a private investor, as well as located the buyer, a nonlocal limited liability company. Operations at the popular 10-minute quick lube space will continue uninterrupted.
Prattville-based River Bank & Trust recently announced a local expansion with the opening of a new loan and deposit office site at 4360 Bit and Spur Road in Mobile, located near E.R. Dickson Elementary School. The leased space covers some 2,000 square feet and employs three loan officers.
“If the success we’ve seen in Daphne is any indication, we have a very bright future in Mobile,” River Bank & Trust CEO Jimmy Stubbs said. Per a news release, plans are in place for the bank to add two locations in Dothan and one in Enterprise in the future.
Drivers passing by 1451 Government St. in Midtown Mobile are now seeing a flurry of activity around the former recycling center that holds a hollowed-out, 2,500-square-foot building sitting on a 37,500-square-foot lot. It is the future home of a second Stokley Garden Express location. New steel framework will soon morph the site’s exterior aesthetic into a plant nursery. Steve Stone with dakinstreet architects is in charge of the redesign, with expectations to open mid-2020.
Birmingham-based Campbell Law firm recently held a meet and greet at Azalea Manor in Downtown Mobile, announcing their expansion next year into Mobile. The company specializes in pest control litigation, deceptive business practices and employment discrimination. Office sites currently under consideration cover Downtown Mobile and around the intersection of Interstate 65 and Airport Boulevard. The new satellite will house two or three employees when fully staffed.
Spring, Texas-headquartered regional retailer Conn’s HomePlus has leased some 47,000 square feet of space inside Springdale Mall, located at 3250 Airport Blvd. The company sells furniture, mattresses, appliances, TVs, computers and other electronics. Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle IP Inc. (JLL) is the real estate firm that locally manages lease transactions for Springdale Mall.
A local group of investors recently acquired some 40 acres of land located on County Road 32 in Summerdale, due west of the Beach Express, for $400,000. Development plans for the property were not announced (by the speculators) as of press time. The transaction was handled by Sharon Wright with White-Spunner Realty.
A 6,252-square-foot site, formerly occupied by The Melting Pot and located at 840 Montlimar Drive in Mobile, is now under lease by the Columbia, South Carolina-based seafood chain Yummi Crab. Leigh Dale Younce with JLL worked for the landlord in the transaction and plans are in place for the new space to open early Summer 2020.
Historic, 1930s-era Ashland Place Fire Station No. 12 will soon see a new tenant, locally owned bakery Bake My Day. The small business will be opening a second site inside the historic property sometime in 2020. Owners Paula Bentley and Liz Harbin opened their first space in 2012, which is located at 156-A N. McGregor Ave. in the Spring Hill neighborhood of Mobile.
An 11,200-square-foot retail space, located at 3683 Airport Blvd., near the FedEx Office Print & Ship Center, has been leased by Halloween City. The seasonal retailer will reportedly stay open until early November. Emily Miller and Leigh Dale Younce with JLL handled the lease for the landlord.
Valent Group expanding locally
Valent Group, a risk-consulting and insurance division of Birmingham-based EBSCO Industries, one of Alabama’s larger privately held companies, announced in a news release expansion plans in Mobile.
Senior Risk Consultant Paul Elliott is joining Valent Group’s Mobile office located at 1110 Montlimar Drive, Suite 400, to head up efforts in the Lower Alabama region.
“We’re growing in Mobile and are excited to add someone of Paul’s caliber to our team,” Paul Barber, Valent Group president, said. “This greatly enhances the leadership and expertise of our team in the Mobile Bay market in a region that is a top priority for Valent Group.”
Elliott has been with Valent Group since early 2016 in the agency’s Birmingham headquarters, where he has served a variety of industries. He is a graduate of Troy University, where he was named one of four Alumni of the Year in 2017.
“My family has roots in the Mobile Bay area and I’m looking forward to serving our businesses and raising my family here,” Elliott said.
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