According to John Serda, the genesis of Royal Vendors originated as a favor to a friend. “I was talking to an acquaintance that had some old records and other items she wanted to sell. I mentioned that they could be sold at Serda’s Coffee and one day she came over and did just that,” Serda said.

Serda then decided to organize a monthly event which is now held the first Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. where people can come to his business, set-up a table either inside or on sidewalk space fronting his property and sell anything they’d like (within reason).

Among the guidelines is that anyone can sell anything as long as it is legal, not dangerous and does not require any on-site cooking. Sellers also provide their own chairs and tables. Change also is provided to vendors if required.

“We have been doing this for four months now and get about five to six vendors each time. We’ve had vendors that sell lip balms, moisturizers, candles, honey, all natural dog biscuits, art, greeting cards and African textiles and ceramics,” Serda said.

“I would really love to see Royal Vendors grow to the point where one day every Saturday is similar to the French Quarter Market in New Orleans. It would be a great event that’d make for a fun weekend for anyone to enjoy with great vendors and perhaps eventually even live music.”

47 apartment units planned former Press-Register building

According to Mike Dow, current board chair for the Centre for the Living Arts, a Mississippi Commercial Property Development Company is finalizing plans to put in 47 apartment units at the former Press-Register building located downtown at 304 Government St.

“We thought the best thing to do for downtown was to develop the 304 space into living facilities to continue Palmer Bedsole’s vision of a thriving downtown arts centre,” Dow said. “Three main developers initially looked at the property. One from New Orleans couldn’t get a tax credit implemented and so didn’t bite. The Mississippi group has already performed their due diligence with no issues uncovered. A tentative closing date has already been set and an announcement from them should soon be forthcoming.”

Local firm spearheads new crowd funding law

The legislative session of 2014 has come to an end and one bill signed and passed through by Gov. Bentley was Sb44 allowing equity crowd funding investing in Alabama.

This new law allows private investors of myriad financial means to sink cash into local companies, which in turn provides startup capital for entrepreneurs. To date, Alabama is only the ninth state in the union to pass such legislation geared towards small business growth per Jennifer Edwards, co-founder and CEO of locally owned Alphaconnects.com.

Regulations regarding the new bill mandate that companies must be Alabama-based and investors must be state residents. The bill allows startups to raise upwards of $1,000,000 in a 12-month period. Although individuals do not have to be registered with the SEC, expenditures are capped at $5,000 unless they are listed as a “sophisticated” investor.

Of particular note, Alphaconnects.com is currently the only company in Alabama officially recognized by Goat Hill to handle the equity crowd funding investment process.

“We have been preparing for this impending legislation since 2012 when the JOBS Act was signed. Our company uses the power of communities to allow thousands of people to contribute smaller amounts of capital. Instead of one investor offering $100,000 it’s now possible for a thousand people to invest $100. This makes raising startup capital easier. Small investors also receive fractional ownership in the new company,” Edwards said.

“It’s similar to Kickstarter.com, but instead of getting a T-shirt for your investment you can own equity in the company you believe in,” said Ian Harbaugh, co-founder and CTO.

AlphaConnects.com is currently accepting investors for equity and proposals from entrepreneurs for new businesses and products. Their website is: www.alphaconnects.com

Direct Mobile route now available from Megabus.com’s improved NOLA hub

Megabus.com, the popular city-to-city express bus company with fares starting as low as $1, recently began departures from its new NOLA arrival/departure location between the Union Passenger Terminal and Standard Parking lot at 1001 Loyola Avenue. The new hub offers customers improved access to local transportation options.

“We are pleased to offer a more convenient arrival/departure location for customers departing or arriving to the area,” said Mike Alvich, Megabus.com’s vice president of Marketing & Public Relations. “We look forward to continuing to provide daily, affordable, express service with free Wi-Fi and power outlets to all our customers.”

From New Orleans, Megabus customers can travel direct to Mobile, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Houston, San Antonio, Jackson, Memphis, Montgomery and Oxford, Miss.

Tickets for routes are available for purchase on www.megabus.com.

White-Spunner Realty Expands Property Management Division

Matthew Garrard, IREM, joined the White-Spunner Realty team recently as a Property Manager. He is a Certified Property Manager & also is certified with the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).

Garrard earned his B.S. degree in Finance at The University of Alabama and related work experience began in 2006.  He is also a member of the Mobile Association of Realtors.

Commercial real estate moves

Primary Residential Mortgage has leased 2,700-square-feet of office space at 900 Hillcrest Road, Suite A3. Angela McArthur of Prudential Cooper and Co., Inc. Commercial Division handled the transaction.

The 6,500-square-foot former Roberts Brothers Inc. office building at 6576 Airport Blvd. sold for $600,000 to Suburban Radiology. Billy Heath with Roberts Brothers Inc. represented the sellers. Jill Meeks with John Toomey R.E. worked for the buyers. Suburban Radiology is a new business created by a group of locally established doctors.

Firehouse Wine Bar & Shop, now occupying the historic Hook & Ladder Co. building on St. Francis Street, will open for business Friday, April 25. The two-story location is 4,200-square-feet in entirety, but only the 2,100-square-feet ground floor houses the business.

Purchase price of the property was $200,000 with an additional $150,000 in capital spent renovating and outfitting the Wine Bar. Chris Clark at Roberts Brothers was the listing agent and Broker/Realtor Julie Martin assisted former New Yorkers Margo Alderton and Andre Lotz with the purchase.