News Sports Opinion Photos Social Classified Obits Contact

Downtown district growing

By Leigh Anne Butler

In the past year, seven new businesses have opened in downtown Tallassee.

“That is quite a lot,” Tallassee Chamber of Commerce executive director Jerry Cunningham explained.  “There have been other properties that have recently sold so there is potential for added growth, possibly three more new businesses.”

The Hotel Talisi was always an anchor for the downtown area.  After a fire claimed the historic hotel and restaurant in December of 2009, the downtown area saw a decline in traffic and storefronts.

In recent years, several new businesses have opened and renovated existing downtown buildings.  “There was so little to speak of just three or four years ago,” Cunningham continued.  “It is really looking great downtown.  That’s what’s so encouraging.  Once things get rolling, if one business does well hopefully they’ll all do well.  I’ve been talking with a lot of the businesses down there.  They are getting traffic.”

In the past year, downtown has welcomed Restoration 49, Tallassee Nutrition,  Tallassee Real Estate, Fancy Pony Boutique, Dreamcatcher Comics and Collectibles, The Dam Store and Grove Station. 

Crowds downtown during the Oct. 16 Sidewalk Sale

“Most of our growth has been from people who have ties to our area or close by,” Cunningham stated.

Grove Station, a butcher, bakery and market shop, is the newest downtown business.  “We are overwhelmed with the support we’ve received since opening,” owner Corrie Sid explained.  “We want to thank Tallassee for checking us out and seeing what’s going on downtown.  We were surprised and excited for the reaction.  It’s been amazing.  It’s been really amazing.”

Stephen Webster, owner of The Dam Store stated, “Business has been steady.  More and more people are visiting for the first time.”  The Dam store is a variety store that offers items deeply discounted.  “Our name is in honor of the famous Thurlow Dam that sits just 1,000 feet away from our front doors.  We are so excited to be located on Barnett Boulevard in downtown Tallassee.  It is time for change and growth and everyone has to work together.”

In August of 2018 the City of Tallassee was awarded a Transportation Alternative Program (TAPS) grant to go toward downtown improvements.  $520,000 would be provided in federal funds with the city being required to match $205,000.  Work has yet to begin.

At the October 12 city council meeting, Mayor Johnny Hammock addressed the status of the project.  “Hopefully we will be accepting bids soon for the downtown utility replacement.  When we are about halfway done we’ll take bids for the downtown streetscape project.  We kind of want them to run together.  Everybody just be patient.  I know we were awarded the grant over three years ago.  It just takes a long time dealing with grants and all the red tape.”