The 99-year-old Greer’s grocery chain is moving back downtown where it all began after the recent acquisition of Sav-A-Lot on the corner of Broad and Government Streets in downtown Mobile.

Established in 1916, the newest location, listed as number 34, is less than half a mile away from the original site of the very first store that started the chain. Vallas Realty handled the transaction for Greer’s.

The 16,000-square-foot building, with a 35,000-square-foot parking lot area, will be one of the smallest in the chain, but will serve a unique and challenging niche for the grocer according to Jackie Greer, vice-president and treasurer.

“The property is comparable in size to our Fairhope location. The store will be a Cash Saver but will also have a boutique flavor because of having to serve a broad, eclectic mix typical of an urban demographic. Professionals, artists, millennials, neighborhoods, tourists and low-income are just a few examples of those served. It is something we haven’t quite handled to this degree at any of our other stores,” Greer said.

According to Greer, about $200,000 in renovations plus another $300,000 in inventory will be invested to transform the store from a limited assortment model to a full variety supermarket. Taller shelves will be used to compensate for smaller square footage. Upgrades in refrigeration will provide a comprehensive frozen food and beer section.

Food and product assortments will range from bargain basement necessities to high-end selections for the discerning shopper, comparable to Fresh Market. Opening date is slated for late April. Hours are expected to be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. but may vary down the road as foot traffic activity evolves.

Plans are to promote from within to staff the store, but expectations are to add 25 new jobs as well. To date, the company employs roughly 700 in the surrounding area between all locations.

“We are looking forward to filling a void in downtown for a quality grocer and want to contribute to the area’s dynamic growth. It’s our hope to be embraced by the local community and perhaps transform that corner of Broad and Government streets in a positive way,” Greer said.

“Downtown Mobile is in need of a family-friendly grocery store, and we are thrilled that Autrey Greer & Sons, Inc. has decided to open up shop here. We look forward to working with them to ensure this endeavor is a success,” Mayor Stimpson said.

Rural Sourcing Inc. recognizes first anniversary
Having arrived in Mobile a year ago amid much fanfare, Rural Sourcing Inc.’s (RSI) job growth has progressed along expectations according office development center manager Dan Zirbes.

“To date, RSI has hired 40 colleagues from March to December, 2014. In 2015 we have hired 10 so far. Currently, our Mobile location has approximately 20 job opportunities in Salesforce, Microsoft .Net, Java, and Quality Assurance software applications,” Zirbes said.

“We have a staffing mix of one senior software developer to four new graduates. Over 30 percent of RSI Mobile’s employees graduated from the University of South Alabama. Seventy-five percent of our employees are from Alabama and 25 percent hail from Mississippi and Florida.”

RSI originally rented a 5,000-square-foot office space from The Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce from March 2014 thru September 2014. RSI then leased an 8,000-square-foot office space at 1 St. Louis Center last September. Plans are to move into their third and final home, a 14,000-square-foot space in the newly renovated Buick Building at 455 St. Louis St. in September of this year, with the goal of employing 110 at full capacity.

“We’ve been able to bring on an exceptional team in Mobile quite quickly due to the talented people in the area and the strength of the local universities we’re working with. Their ability to deliver for our clients has exceeded our expectations but what we value most is the strong culture that the group has built over the last year,” Ingrid Miller, RSI’s VP of client services said.

Commercial real estate moves
Comprehensive MedPsych Systems has leased a 4,232-square-foot space at Montlimar Place located at 1110 Montlimar Drive. Tommy Gleason and David Dexter of NAI Mobile represented the landlord in the transaction.

Two Bit Tech leased approximately 2,200-square-feet of retail space at 3018 Airport Blvd., next to Lou’s Jewelry. Two Bit Tech is a smart device sales, service and repair store with two other locations in the Mobile area. Paul Carter with the Paul Carter Agency handled the transaction for both parties.

An 11,240-square foot commercial building at 601 Zeigler Circle E. recently sold for $240,000. Cross River Church was the seller and The Cave Ministries was the purchaser.

Cross River is currently looking for land in west Mobile and will begin construction on a new property as soon as possible. The Cave Ministries, currently located at 10775 Airport Blvd., will begin renovations on the commercial building immediately and will relocate soon after.

Paul Carter of The Paul Carter Agency represented both sides of the transaction for buyer and seller.

Locally owned Hope Ahead Residential Living has plans to expand into a 2,000-square-foot office space in the near future at the 600 Bel Air Blvd. office park, almost doubling in size from the 1,200-square-foot space currently leased. According to owner Melissa Ezell, the care center also plans to hire 15 to 20 more employees in the next 90 days, effectively doubling in company size as well.

Hope Ahead works with families of individuals with intellectual disabilities to help find and procure proper housing, with state funded assistance, those who qualify financially.

Southern Light reaches significant milestones
Southern Light, a Mobile-based provider of fiber optic networks and high-capacity transport solutions, has grown its network to more than 5,000 route miles and recently activated service to its 1,000th customer in 2015. According to the press release, these achievements firmly establish the local company as a major fiber optic providing player in the Southeast.

Southern Light is currently expanding its footprint to key markets including Huntsville, Birmingham and Jackson, Miss. The anticipated expansion and investment in the network will enable the 17-year-old company to continue delivering customized last-mile solutions to customers across current and planned networks.

“Southern Light has significantly expanded its reach while maintaining the highest levels of excellence,” Andy Newton, president and CEO of Southern Light said. “Our network and customers are of utmost importance as we continue to provide high-bandwidth infrastructure solutions.