After 44 years in business, locally owned Plantation Antique Galleries in Mobile is shuttering for good at the end of the year. The well-known local antiquary specializes in 18th century indoor furniture and accessories from all over Europe, Egypt and Turkey.
Sitting near the intersection with Cottage Hill Road, the innocuous-looking 10,400-square-foot building at 604 Bel Air Blvd. will be hosting a wine and cheese event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 1 as a way of thanking the community for supporting the business over the decades, according to co-owners John Gulas and Frank Lundell.
“After 40 years I’m ready to retire. In case you haven’t heard, millennials aren’t buying antiques. Please come and adopt these beloved antiques for between 50-75 percent off, until the next generation is old enough to start caring for them,” Gulas states on the store’s website.
With an initial standing inventory worth upward of $4 million, the gallery began discounting merchandise about 16 months ago. Roughly 25 percent is still available for purchase at discounts of up to 87 percent.
“We still have a lot of 1800s-era furniture that is from England and France. There are rugs from Persia, with the oldest over 150 years old and originally priced around $30,000, still available, as well as 1940s-era Turkish carpets from famous designer Zeki Muran. Locally, 10 paintings from well-known artist Henri Rathle are up for sale,” Anjie Lowther, store manager, said.
Plans for the property after the store closes are undecided, according to Gulas. “I’ve been told that this is one of the of the most beautifully designed interiors in town by several friends. It would really be nice to keep the design floor plan and architecture as is, if we could find the right use for it,” he said.
University of South Alabama professor of music Dr. Andra Bohnet will be performing at the Dec. 1 event from 1-4 p.m., playing Celtic music.
Gulas will be onsite to offer guided tours of the store. Discussions will focus on how the owners funneled such a wide array of unique and eclectic items from all over the world into their store over the years.
More information about the event, including store discounts, can be found online at plantationgalleries.com.
Business moves, transactions
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama recently held a grand opening for new office space on the third floor of 3 S. Royal St. The new space more than doubles the organization’s former footprint of 1,100 square feet around the corner at 9 Dauphin St. There are currently nine staff at the new location, with plans to hire more as caseload increases.
• Out-of-state investors recently purchased an 8,400-square-foot industrial warehouse on 3.6 acres at 5880 Middle Road in Theodore for $300,000. The property has access from both Middle Road and I-10 Industrial Parkway. Plans are in place for the site to be used as an import distribution warehouse. Pete Riehm and J.T. Jenkins with NAI Mobile handled the transaction.
• According to Dr. Michael Finan, director of The Mitchell Cancer Institute, plans are in place for the opening of new medical office space at Spring Hill Medical Center, 3719 Dauphin St. in Mobile. The new facilities will encompass some 1,000 square feet and house several physicians onsite at any given time. The new extension will open sometime during next spring.
Austal USA delivers Burlington (EPF 10) to Navy
Austal USA recently delivered the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Burlington (EPF 10) to the U.S. Navy during a ceremony onboard the ship at the company’s headquarters in Mobile. This is the fourth ship Austal has delivered to the Navy this year.
The 338-foot Burlington is an aluminum catamaran capable of transporting 600 tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. It is designed to operate in ports and waterways too shallow and narrow for the larger ships in the U.S. Navy’s surface fleet. The ship’s flight deck can also support flight operations for a wide variety of manned and unmanned aircraft, including a CH-53E Super Stallion.
“Today’s delivery of Burlington marks the tenth EPF we have delivered to the U.S. Navy, a milestone achieved as a result of the shipbuilding team made up of Austal employees, our Navy partners, industry suppliers and both local and state community and legislative support,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said.
In addition to the delivery of the USNS Burlington, two additional Spearhead-class EPFs are under construction at locally headquartered Austal USA’s shipyard. The recently launched Puerto Rico (EPF 11) is preparing for sea trials and the Newport (EPF 12) is in its final stages of assembly.
Austal also recently received instruction from the Navy to order long lead time materials for a currently unnamed EPF 13 vessel.
McKenzie tapped as director for Exchange 202
Jason McKenzie is the new director of community engagement for the Exchange 202 coworking space in downtown Mobile.
Prior to joining the Exchange, McKenzie spent two and a half years as the executive director of The Joe Jefferson Playhouse, according to his LinkedIn profile page. In that position he directed and implemented development programs to generate donor foundation and corporate support for the local 501(c)(3) community theater group. He also managed all social media for the playhouse as well as public relations, marketing and news releases for the playhouse.
McKenzie earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Louisiana Tech University, followed by an MBA from Auburn University. He currently serves as a volunteer for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mobile as a Red Shoe Society board member. McKenzie also served as a volunteer for the Historic Mobile Preservation Society, The Village of Spring Hill and The United Way of Southwest Alabama.
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