One of Mobile’s oldest locally owned grocery stores recently announced the acquisition of two additional stores in Baldwin County. Piggly Wiggly will be moving into what were previously Winn-Dixie stores in Robertsdale and Gulf Shores, as ripples from the Jacksonville-based grocer’s recently announced bankruptcy and 94-store closure are still being felt along the central Gulf Coast.

“It’s hard to see a local titan like Winn-Dixie shut its doors, but we are excited to be able to allow the people of Gulf Shores and Robertsdale to continue to shop local,” general manager Kamal Constantine said.

Founded in 1916 in Memphis, Piggly Wiggly reportedly was the first true self-service grocery store chain in the country. The Manning family opened their first store in Mobile County in 1972, then purchased the existing Baldwin County Piggly Wiggly stores in 2016. With the addition of these two stores, there will be 14 locations along the central Gulf Coast.

Piggly Wiggly plans to retain most of the associates from the Winn-Dixie stores and is accepting applications at all of the Baldwin County stores.

Cracker Barrel soft opening in Saraland

The newest local-area Cracker Barrel in Saraland held a soft opening last Friday to a standing-room-only crowd of local area officials and public service workers, including police officers, firefighters and their families. An estimated 800 visitors attended the heavily heralded new eatery.

According to Saraland Cracker Barrel general manager John Link, Friday was a warm-up for the official grand opening the following Monday. “We want to make sure our employees get plenty of practice Friday before officially serving our first official customers next Monday,” Link said.

Patrons in Saraland will have their orders taken on iPads as part of a new technology rollout being tested among at a handful of new locations opening this year by the Lebanon, Tennessee-based chain.

Upward of 200 new jobs have been added to the area thanks to Cracker Barrel’s arrival, with expectations to possibly hire more during the year as seasonal demand dictates.    

Knollwood Pointe grand opening

Knollwood Pointe Assisted Living & Memory Care Center, located at 5601 Girby Road in West Mobile, recently held a grand opening. The 30,000-square-foot facility was acquired in 2017 by an Atlanta-based property management company that has invested more than $1 million in renovations prior to reopening the senior care center’s doors to the local community.

The site currently employs around 25, but expectations are to ramp up to 60 workers when fully staffed over the next 90 days. RNs, LPNs and those with a work history in assisted living are encouraged to apply. For more information visit Knollwood Pointe’s website and/or contact Debbie Nicholl, facility manager.

Real estate moves

• Filters-NOW.com, the Creola-based air filter company, has leased some 86,250 square feet of warehouse space at 248 Jacintoport Blvd. in the Mobile River Industrial Park in Saraland. David Dexter of NAI Mobile brokered the transaction.

• According to Carrie Mackey with Jason Will Real Estate, local area speculators paid $370,000 for a 7,000-square-foot former Old Barn Antiques property located at 1803 S. Greeno Road in Point Clear. Jeremy Friedman with Catapult Properties worked for the sellers. Mackey represented the buyers.

• Fresenius Medical Care is leasing the 12,843-square-foot former Rite Aid building located at 2011 Springhill Ave. in Mobile. The company is planning an extensive renovation of the property, with plans in place to open in late fall 2018. Nathan Handmacher, leasing executive with Stirling Properties, represented the landlord in the transaction. David Plummer with Retail Specialists worked for the tenant.

• The Athens, Georgia-based Zaxby’s restaurant franchise is developing a new eatery in Orange Beach, according to city records. Rezoning property sites targeted are the 4171 and 4161 sections located near Orange Beach Boulevard. Zaxby’s currently has several sites in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

• Per Stacey Ryals with Hosteeva Realty, out-of-state investors recently acquired Little Rock Mobile Home Park as well as 15 acres located near the corner of Baldwin County Road 65 on Little Rock Road for $185,000. Randy Dodd with Landstar represented the seller. Hosteeva Realty worked for the buyer.

• Lithia Springs, Georgia-based Nations Roof is leasing 7,860 square feet of office space inside Bel Air Tower located at 851 E. Interstate 65 Service Road South in Mobile. Justin Toomey, broker associate with Stirling Properties, represented the tenant. Jason Scott, leasing executive with Stirling Properties, worked for the property owner. Per a news release, Nations Roof is expanding its corporate footprint into the Southeast with the addition of this location.

Merrill Lynch names Noel local manager

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management recently named Tyrone Noel as market development manager for its Southern Gulf states market. In this newly created role, Noel will work closely with local Merrill Lynch leadership to execute the firm’s community markets growth initiative along the central Gulf Coast. Areas in Alabama include Mobile, Fairhope, Dothan, Birmingham, Gadsden, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa. According to Census data, this area of Alabama has a population of more than 1.2 million, comprising approximately 470,000 households.

Noel’s responsibilities will include helping to recruit and retain advisers in this area, supporting advisers in driving growth and identifying opportunities to create efficiency and improve client retention through new tools and technology. In partnership with local Merrill Lynch resident directors, Noel will also help pursue business opportunities through active participation in area communities, with a local focus on both Mobile and Baldwin counties.

Noel has 15 years of financial services experience. He joined Bank of America in 2011 and most recently served as a market manager for the Consumer Bank and Merrill Edge in the Southeast. Prior to this role, he served as a financial adviser for the company, during which time he also trained and mentored advisers new to the firm and industry. He holds both the Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor industry designations.