The 99-year-old, locally owned grocery chain Greer’s recently announced its “Apples for the Students” community school initiative has returned for a seventh consecutive year. The goal of the program is to turn customer’s register tape receipts (excluding alcohol and tobacco) into educational supplies for the benefit of surrounding area schools, according to a news release.

All local schools in communities in or around any Greer’s store can become eligible to participate in the program by contacting the local store manager and/or by calling the Apples for the Students headquarters.

“We’re teaming up with Apples for the Students and the schools to help our children make the grade in these financially challenging times,” Jackie Greer Jr., vice president and co-managing partner of Greer’s, said. “From September through March of this school year, every time one of our shoppers sends their register tapes to a school set up in the program, they earn that particular school credits toward the free exchange of over 1,000 valuable educational products.”

For the past 30 years, the Apples for the Students program has worked with grocers throughout the United States, providing more than $250 million in computers, equipment, books and educational tools to local schools.

Since Greer’s local involvement in the program began, participating schools in the area have benefited to the tune of more than $325,000 in equipment and supplies. One example is Cora Castlen Elementary in Grand Bay, having received upwards of $20,000 worth of supplies during the past six years via the initiative.

“Schools that sign up by Oct. 1 earn 5,000 bonus credits; schools that submit a winning picture for the ‘Collection Box Contest’ will receive 10,000 bonus credits; and schools that send in $75,000 in receipts by Nov. 30 will receive 10,000 credits,” Jan Greer Endfinger, director of marketing, said.

“Our family has owned and operated Greer’s Market and Food Tiger stores locally since 1916. We are pleased to offer shoppers our Greer’s CashSaver Cost Plus 10 Percent stores. We currently have 33 stores and are training fifth-generation family members,” Endfinger said.

“We reinvest every year in remodeling our stores and building or acquiring others,” Jackie Greer said. “Last month we converted our store on Wilson Avenue to a Greer’s CashSaver and it is doing very well. We will be adding self-checkouts to our new Dauphin at Midtown Market store in the next couple of weeks. This will be an investment of about $150,000.”

“The Greer’s CashSaver store located at Highway 98 and Bauer Road has just recently been remodeled. Additionally, we have plans for major remodels this year for stores in Florida and Mississippi,” Greer said.

“This partnership is new and exclusive to all Greer’s grocery stores in this area. Please check with your school to make sure it is registered to receive the benefits,” Endfinger added.

Baldwin County Realtors assist MARC Enterprises
The Baldwin County Association of Realtors (BCAR) recently helped Mobile Arc Enterprises (MARC) replace an important piece of machinery. When Troy Wilson, chair of community outreach and Bellator Real Estate and Development, discovered MARC’s machine for making sign stakes was broken, BCAR came to the rescue and initiated fundraising efforts to replace it.

MARC Enterprises, located in downtown Mobile, provides jobs for local citizens with mental disabilities. They manufacture a variety of products such as cypress furniture and lattice and operate a greenhouse. In addition to these products, MARC also creates and paints wooden sign stakes for most realty companies in the area. The machine used to assemble these stakes suddenly broke, and MARC did not have the funds to replace it.

“MARC is such a great local organization and has worked with our Realtors in the area a long time providing stakes for yard signs,” Sheila Dodson, CEO of BCAR, said. “We were grateful as an association to be able to purchase MARC a new sign router machine so they are able to continue making products for us.”

MARC is a local advocacy established in 1956 to create a service system for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. MARC’s philosophy is that those with disabilities should be afforded the same rights and protections as all citizens and have equal quality of life. MARC’s mission is to advocate, provide, educate and promote research. For more information, visit www.mobilearc.org.

BCAR is part of the National Association of Realtors. Located in Robertsdale, the organization provides services to more than 2,000 realtors and affiliate members throughout the greater Baldwin County area and Alabama Gulf Coast region.

Commercial real estate moves
Marco’s Pizza, touted as the fastest-growing pizza franchise in the country, has plans to open two new restaurants in the area. The Mobile site being leased is currently under renovation in a 2,000-square-foot space at a former karate school in the Cottage Hill Village Shopping Center. Plans are in place to open the eatery by early November. Another targeted locale in the Spanish Fort area is in the works, with suitable sites currently being surveyed by Fairhope-based franchise owner Ross Ciongoli.  

Ciongoli currently owns the two open restaurants situated at 2380 Dawes Road in Mobile and 2004 U.S. Highway 98 in Daphne. According to Marco’s Pizza area representative Woody Johnson, the local market in Mobile and Baldwin counties can feasibly sustain upwards of five to six stores based on current population metrics.

“Our goal in the local area is to open about one store a year until we reach our goal,” Johnson said.

Other targeted markets currently on the radar include Tillman’s Corner, Saraland and Semmes. When fully staffed, each new eatery will employ upwards of 30 workers.       

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina leveled the Catalina Restaurant in Coden, the operators of the popular eatery have opened Catalina Bayou Restaurant & Catering in a 1,463-square-foot space at the former Shambeau’s building located at 14060 S. Wintzell Ave. in Bayou La Batre. David Dexter of NAI Mobile handled the lease transaction.  

Point Pleasant, New Jersey, based Jersey Mike’s Subs franchise has leased a 1,350-square-foot space at Airport Oaks Shopping Center on Airport Boulevard across from the new Academy Sports. This is Jersey Mike’s first location in the Mobile area. Marl Cummings with Cummings & Associates Inc. represented Jersey Mike’s Subs and Brent Cumbest with Cumbest Properties Inc. worked for the landlord.