A lot has been written about 18-year-old Centralite recently. Well known is the fact that back in 1977 Jim Busby was one the original founders of Quality Micro Systems (QMS) and that at its peak, QMS had roughly 1,400 employees and was one of only a few Mobile companies publically traded on the NYSE.
Of recent note is that Centralite was named a top job creator for the state of Alabama in 2013 by Inc. magazine. The company claimed the second spot for job growth in the state and a sixth position for employment expansion in the entire country for consumer products and services.
“Because of our new products that are sold in a different way, we now have these really large customers like Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Rogers. They are putting a lot of effort into branding and selling our technology under their own labeled automation systems,” new CEO and President Jimmy Busby said.
John Calagaz, chief technology officer and vice president, said they currently have four products marketed to their aforementioned large customers. By the end of 2014, however, plans are to have 14 new offerings with a total product line of 18.
The easiest way to understand Centralite’s current suite of hot products — responsible for their current rate of rapid growth — is by paying close attention to current smart home commercials circulating on television stations locally.
Through this technology, residential home-installed alarms, thermostats, lights, cameras and myriad other security/automation systems can be controlled via the touch of an installed smart phone app. Starting prices are affordable; equating to about one mediocre monthly meal around the town. Additional bell and whistle services for the home can up the ante to a fancy dinner.
“We have one direct competitor in North America and only a handful worldwide. The opportunity to continue to grow Centralite’s revenue exponentially via increased offerings, market penetration and continued technological innovation is a very real possibility in 2014 onward,” Calagaz said.
Local architect firm on short-list
Odom Architects, PC, of Mobile is one of three national architectural firms short-listed by Conshohocken, Penn.-based Saladworks, LLC, to provide strategic brand development and corporate architectural services nationwide.
Established in 2009, Odom Architects provides commercial architectural interior design and graphic services for national retail corporations.
Angie Odom, company principal, was the 2012 recipient of the “Architecture Thesis Commendation” and “Green Award for Architecture Excellence” awards bestowed by Boston Architectural College. Established in 1986, Saladworks is the nation’s first and largest fresh-tossed salad restaurant concept with over 100 franchise locations across the country. They offer made-to-order entrée salads, wraps, soups, and sandwiches.
Saladworks will announce their final decision on choice of architect partner sometime in January 2014.
Small business sales up in 2013
According to local certified small business broker and appraiser William Bruce, a recent survey of business transfer specialists showed that 2013 was a banner year for small business sales, due primarily to the leading edge of the Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement age and offloading their companies.
The survey was conducted by BizBuySell.com, the world’s largest online business-for-sale marketplace. The jump for 2013 was a 68 percent increase in the number of businesses sold vs. 2012. Of those sold in 2013, about 50 percent came from Baby Boom business owners retiring.
The same survey also showed that over 80 percent of respondents believed even more mom & pop shops will be sold in 2014. Interviewees attributed the spike in small business sales to improving economic conditions.
“Overall transition specialists recognize the uncertainty of the economy, but still appear very confident that small business transactions will continue to rise in 2014,” Bruce said.
“As more buyers and sellers, including Baby Boomers, continue to flood the market, all the pieces point to another strong year in the business-for-sale community,” Bruce continued.
Commercial real estate moves
Hurricane RV & Auto Repair leased a 5,000-square-foot building located at 7655 Tara Drive. Angela McArthur of Prudential Cooper and Co., Inc. Commercial Division handled the transaction.
Cheveau Salon, a full-service hair salon, leased 2,500-square-feet of retail space at 960 South Schillinger Road, Suite F, and will open early 2014. Angela McArthur of Prudential Cooper and Company, Inc. Commercial Division managed the deal.
Discount Party Retail, leased 2,700-square-feet of retail space at 740 South Schillinger Road, Suite A1, and will open for business sometime this spring. Angela McArthur of Prudential Cooper and Company, Inc. Commercial Division represented the owner. Chris Gullo of DRSS Real Estate Services, LLC, worked for the tenant.
Dr. Harold W. Hawkins, M.D., P.C. purchased four commercial lots on Dauphin Square Connector for $132,000 and plans on building a new medical practice at the location. Sam Winter and Company, Inc. represented the seller and Cricket Vigor, realtor with Keller Williams worked for the buyer.
Newly opened PDQ paid $900,000 for their 1.5-acre location on University Boulevard. Investors of the soon-to-open Express Oil Change (adjacent to the fast casual restaurant) shelled out $462,000 for the site.
Burton Clark of Cummings & Associates worked for the sellers of both holdings.
The law office of Phelps Dunbar is moving over to the Van Antwerp building after recently vacating their current spot adjacent to the Battle House Renaissance Hotel, owned by Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA). Roughly $3.4 million was forked out by RSA for the law firm’s former headquarters.
RSA also owns the 106 year-old, 10-story Van Antwerp historical structure currently undergoing renovations.
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