The trip to The Big Easy was part business, part educational and part fun. Expect to read about the recovery in the Lower Ninth Ward and other areas soon.
What a feeling to return home from a trip and see the parking lot of the new Publix full, and to learn that the store has opened. These pictures from Bessemer photographer Larry Gay were taken just a few days before the opening.
You can see more of Larry's pictures of Colonial Promenade Tannehill here.
Publix, which offers this sustainability statement on its website, brings to Bessemer more healthy food choices than we are accustomed to and their free Green Wise magazine has suggestions and recipes that promote the health of our planet as well as our personal health.
Welcome to Bessemer, Publix.
And welcome also to Premiere Cinemas, which opened with "The Dark Knight" a week ago. This cinema is the first in the world built to be totally digital, and Bessemer will soon host executives from the cinema business from around the world who are interested in the technology and its application here, according to The Western Tribune.
My column this week in The Western Tribune reflected on the theater opening and business opportunity in Bessemer. Here it is:
It was the dark of night when "The Dark Knight" ushered in a new era of entertainment for Bessemer and nearby communities last week. Premiere 14 Cinemas opened at Colonial Promenade Tannehill just before midnight Thursday and word is the facility is top notch.
Having been out of town during the opening weekend I will wait to see the newest Batman movie as well as Mama Mia until the crowds die down a bit.
But this facility has been anticipated for years, as theater proposals have come and gone in Bessemer and other western communities, only to be dropped for various reasons. However now the opening of the theater is the harbinger of many openings over next week or so as retail giants Target and Publix and numerous other stores open their doors for business.
Revenue to the city from these stores may not be what some would think because of the millions of dollars in incentives our city paid to land the development, but there are other benefits to the community that we should consider.
Hundreds, if not thousands of full and part time positions will be staffed as these businesses open, providing jobs for teens and others, who will benefit by being able to work close to home, saving money on gas as well as time for travel.
A variety of stores that we are not accustomed to will provide shopping opportunity close to home as well.
In addition we can feel good about our city for landing such a development which will bring people from other communities to shop, eat and spend in Bessemer.
But while we explore the new stores and enjoy the new restaurants and theaters, let’s not forget the downtown business district which is undergoing a renaissance of sort as well. Many buildings are undergoing restoration and among the new businesses will be an art gallery and studio. When the new courthouse opens hundreds of additional workers will be employed, and there will be a market for shops and cafes nearby to serve them along with the current restaurants in the vicinity.
The city of Bessemer and business people alike have an opportunity downtown to re-create a district that while different from the past, will be just as thriving.
Let’s hope a chef or two and potential shop owners realize this and make our downtown shopping district just as successful as the Tannehill development is expected to be.