Recently BBVA Compass performed a week of volunteer service for 12 local nonprofit organizations with a team of over 30 BBVA employee volunteers. Additionally, 8 hours has been allocated per employee at BBVA as paid time off (PTO) for volunteer activities throughout the rest of 2014 with 16 hours PTO pledged per employee in 2015 for volunteer related activities.

“This is a huge commitment from the bank nationally to volunteerism. We typically focus on financial literacy, pro bono work and community service,” Mark Fillers, BBVA’s south Alabama market commercial banking president said. “The local impact is significant since we have approximately 125 employees in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

Historically, our teams volunteer significantly more than eight hours per person. Last year we recorded over 2,500 volunteer hours in total, which averages more than 20 hours per employee.”

BBVA’s Week of Service began with the Goodwill Easter Seals and concluded with the American Heart Association Heart Walk. The charity work was focused on giving back to low and moderate income organizations/individuals throughout Mobile County as evidenced by nine of the 12 organizations served having qualified for Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) bank lending credit.

“I was really impressed with having Mayor Troy Ephriam of Prichard assist Jamie LeDoux, BBVA’s global wealth manager, Vice-president Marc Jackson, and myself in a financial education discussion with over 300 students at Blount High School,” Fillers said.

To maintain the momentum of charitable work being performed by local business leaders in the community, Fillers recently threw down the gauntlet of challenge to friend Daniel Dennis, president at Roberts Brothers Inc., to also hold a week of volunteer work at their company. Dennis gamely accepted and now a new week of volunteerism sponsored by Roberts Brothers starts in October.

“My hope is that he will challenge other business leaders locally to follow suit, similar to the Ice Bucket challenge. This would have the potential to fuel a need for volunteers in our community, especially in light of the city’s performance contract funding challenges,” Fillers said.

Commercial Real Estate Moves

A 1,150-square-foot space at 77 South Section St., Suite B, in Fairhope has been leased for an upscale whiskey and martini bar. Morgan Ashurst with Ashurst & Niemeyer worked for the tenant and Sharon Wright with White-Spunner Realty (WSR) represented the landlord. 

Louis Berger has moved its office to downtown and leased three office suites at 56 St. Emanuel St. Sharon Wright represented the tenant and John Peebles with Peebles & Cameron worked for the landlord.

Thai Diner leased a 1,200-square-foot restaurant space at Sugar Mill Village on Hillcrest Road. The eatery will offer Thai dishes and sushi. Sharon Wright handled the transaction for both landlord and tenant. 

Xtreme Nutrition & Smoothies has leased a 1,400-square-foot retail space in Fountain Plaza on State Highway 59 in Foley. Sharon Wright managed the transaction.

Covenant Hospice has leased a 3,318-square-foot medical space at 3103 Airport Blvd. in Hilton Square and plans to move their old office to the new locale in the near future. Sharon Wright worked for the tenant and Justin Toomey with Stirling Properties represented the landlord. 

Postmark Inc. leased a 6,400-square-foor office/warehouse space at 755 Middle St. in Fairhope. The digital printing and direct mail company will relocate operations, currently a few blocks over on 918 Nichols Ave., to the new space soon. Sharon Wright worked for the tenant and Philip Hodgson with Coldwell Banker Reehl Properties represented the landlord.

Local investors purchased a 6,000-square-foot office/warehouse space at 26121 Equity Drive in Daphne for $200,000. Pratt Thomas with Merrill P. Thomas & Co. represented the buyers and Sharon Wright worked for the sellers.

According to Merrill Thomas with the Merrill P. Thomas Company, a Louisiana speculator recently acquired the Dollar General Store located at 4690 Springhill Ave. across from Municipal Park for $850,000. Brokers Paul Trawick with Folmar & Associates and Ralph Neal with Watson Realty also helped handle the transaction.

Chicken Salad Chick is opening their second location in Daphne in a shopping center located on State Highway 64 and U.S. Highway 98 according to local franchise co-owner, Misty McClure. The grand opening is slated for the first quarter of 2015. The Auburn-based eatery opened its first location in the county in west Mobile last fall.

The Bluegill Restaurant located at 3775 Battleship Parkway just purchased two lots east of the eatery with plans to accommodate a larger, outdoor concert style format for customers in the near future.

Local accounting firm J.T. Murray, III, CPA, LLC, recently moved from 4365 Midmost Drive, Suite 4, in the Downtowner Loop office park area to 3958 Snow Road, Suite K, in Semmes, effectively doubling office space due to recent growth.

Goodwill Easter Seals opens massive Spanish Fort facility
Goodwill Easter Seals (GES) recently announced a new 26,420-square-foot facility in Spanish Fort in the Eastern Shore Center across from Publix Super Market. The new complex, located at 10718 Eastern Shore Blvd., will house a retail store, donation center and community center.

“Having a facility of this size and scope in the Spanish Fort area will help us to bring many more services to individuals and families living in Baldwin County,” Frank Harkins, president and CEO of Goodwill Easter Seals said.

GES’ mission is to provide services to individuals and families in need of children’s services. They also offer education and employment services including job training and career assistance to people with disabilities, those lacking education/work experience and others facing challenges that impair finding gainful employment.

Goodwill has partnered locally and regionally with Roberts Brothers Commercial & Property Management Inc., Redan I LLC, Gini Properties LLC, Horizon Construction Company and Architect Graig Waldon on the design and construction of the new facility.

A United Way Partner Agency, GES operates 13 retail stores, 12 stand alone donation centers, eight community centers and two child development centers along the central Gulf Coast throughout Alabama and Florida. Ninety cents of every dollar is spent on services to individuals and families in a 12 county area.