Stockholm, Sweden-based H&M, one of the world’s largest fashion retailers, recently announced a new retail space opening in Foley. The site, which will encompass approximately 20,000 square feet, is located inside the Tanger Outlet Shopping Center at 2601 S. McKenzie St.

“We are thrilled to be opening a new location in Alabama,” Daniel Kulle, U.S. president of H&M, said. “The state has been very welcoming to us and we are excited to create more employment opportunities with our expansion there.” H&M is expecting to hire approximately 30 local employees at the new location.

Established in 1947, the company has had a footprint in the U.S. since 2000, with its first retail beachhead opening on Fifth Avenue in New York City. To date, H&M has 441 locations worldwide and employs over 16,000.

To celebrate the new store, H&M at Tanger Outlet is offering the first 100 shoppers an H&M giveaway and “Access to Fashion Pass” valued between $10 and $300. Additionally, other surprise offers reportedly will be awarded to early shoppers. For more information about the company and available job opportunities, visit its website.

Heritage Properties recently broke ground on a new upscale apartment community, The Colonnade at Eastern Shore, located at 830 U.S. Highway 98 in Daphne. The property is pre-leasing now, with move-in dates set for May 2017. The 240 apartment homes will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans, with advertised rents ranging from $1,025 to $1,460.

Amenities at the property will include a clubhouse with both indoor and outdoor living and entertainment space, a resort-style swimming pool with sun shelf and cabanas, a children’s playground, a 24-hour aerobics/children’s activity center, a 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center, a 24-hour tanning salon, a car care center, detached garages and limited-access remote entry gates, a bark park, a fire pit, an outdoor grill kitchen and a business center/cyber café.

The Downtown Mobile Alliance recently purchased 6,200 square feet of office/warehouse space at 711 St. Louis St. in downtown Mobile. The Alliance will be relocating its BID Services storage facility to the property in the near future. 

The St. Louis Street corridor has seen a rise in commercial development and property restoration lately, including the rehabilitation of the historic Buick Building and the new Federal Courthouse currently under construction. Jay Roberds of NAI Mobile handled the transaction, the seventh such transaction on St. Louis Street brokered by NAI Mobile over the past two years. 

Microbrewery uses equity crowdfunding to raise capital
Haint Blue Brewing Co. — eponymously named after an indigenous blue-green pigment painted on Southern porch ceilings to fend off evil spirits, and inhabiting the historic 7,000-square-foot, 89-year-old former Crystal Ice House property — is seeking community investment through a WeFunder campaign. Haint Blue is one of the first new local businesses to utilize an equity crowdfunding site to raise capital for development.

By definition, equity crowdfunding is the process whereby people (the “crowd”) invest in an early-stage unlisted company (an entity that is not listed on a stock market) in exchange for shares in that company. A shareholder has partial ownership of a company and stands to profit should the company do well. According to the WeFunder link to the portal servicing Haint Blue’s campaign, investors are to receive a 150 percent return on their initial contribution.

Investment opportunities begin at $100. Since kicking off the campaign, Haint Blue has raised almost $161,000. Capital raised will go toward purchasing remaining brewery equipment and constructing the brewery’s taproom. Plans are in place for the microbrewery to open by Mardi Gras 2017.

Haint Blue will feature five craft beers: Saffron Saison, Haint Blue Blonde, Haint Blue IPA, Haint Blue Double IPA and Summer Porter. The company’s brews include saffron ingredients from the mountains of Afghanistan, giving the brews a tea-like quality, according to Keith Sherrill, president of Haint Blue Brewing Co.

Mobile Chamber recognizes local minority-owned companies
Two minority-owned companies were recently recognized at the Mobile Area Chamber’s 19th annual Eagle Award luncheon for business development and employee job growth, while a third earned accolades for its minority business advocate programs. The intent of the Chamber-sponsored event is to recognize minority-owned companies’ successes and supplier diversity efforts.

Nichols Financial Services and Perfecting That Cleaning Service received Mobile Area Chamber Eagle Awards, and Muskogee Technology received the Rev. Wesley A. James Minority Business Advocate award.

“The Eagle Award winners are committed to their customers, their community and to a spirit of excellence. The same qualities that have made them successful in business have made them Eagle Award winners,” Darrell Randle, Mobile Chamber vice president of small business development, said.

Nichols Financial Services first started as a seasonal income tax preparation company when Larry Nichols was working in Detroit in 1976. He soon made it a full-time career and in 1996 moved the business to Mobile. The company’s services include payroll, investment, estate and retirement planning for small businesses, churches and individuals.

Perfecting That Cleaning Service was started by Keaneacha Dockery 15 years ago. She continues to add employees, providing clients in Mobile, Baldwin and Clarke counties with residential, commercial, construction and event cleanup services. In 2017, Dockery plans to add a second location in Monroeville.

Muskogee Technology has twice been a U.S. Department of Defense protégé. Director of Marketing Mal McGhee says they learned a great deal during those experiences and believes in paying it forward to other minority entrepreneurs. In addition to the mentoring and idea development McGhee has offered to entrepreneurs, Muskogee Technology hired its first procurement manager to secure its commitment to inclusion.

Owned by the economic development arm of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the company is itself a small disadvantaged-business enterprise. The Atmore-based manufacturer serves the aerospace, defense, machinery, energy and oil and gas industries, specializing in precision machining, fabrication, electronics and carbon composites.