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Business - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper. - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper. Wed, 15 Aug 2018 15:15:52 -0500 MYOB en-gb Transportation Summit Features Updates; Focus on the Future Transportation Summit Features Updates; Focus on the Future

Officials from the City of Northport, City of Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama and the Alabama Department of Transportation spoke to a sold out crowd at the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama's annual Transportation Summit July 26, focusing not only on current projects, but also on future technology.

Northport City Administrator Bruce Higginbotham discussed road improvements impacting Union Chapel Road and Highway 69; projects that are expected to improve traffic flow through realignment and turn lanes.

"These projects will not only improve traffic flow in the City of Northport, it will improve the quality of life for our citizens," Higginbotham said. "It's not just vehicular traffic, but pedestrians as well.

Higginbotham credited the Tuscaloosa County Road Improvement Commission for providing funding for Northport projects. Higginbotham also addressed downtown Northport, saying the city has applied for grant funding for a Main Avenue Streetscape project to address needed riverfront development. 

"This should have been done a long time ago," he said. "It's the highest priority. This is the most underutilized part of the city."

Jarrod Milligan, Deputy Executive Director for Infrastructure and Public Services for the City of Tuscaloosa, gave attendees an overview of the IPS department. The largest department in the city, Milligan said the department is committed to working together to do more with less.

Milligan touched on the progress of several projects, including the James I. Harrison Jr. Parkway Phase II project, and 10th Avenue improvements, which are expected to begin July 31 with resurfacing, lighting, extended sidewalks and storm drainage improvements. Project lists can be found on the City's website.

The summit closed with Nick Crane from the Alabama Department of Transportation and Dr. Alex Hainen from the University of Alabama College of Engineering, who spoke on connected technology, and how the future of the region will be affected by public-private partnerships, information and data, and multi-discipline collaborations.

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Druid City Living Business Happenings: July 2018 Druid City Living Business Happenings: July 2018

Druid City Living always wants to recognize our great local businesses. To the new businesses - welcome to town! Remember: Shop local. 

Now Open/Opening Soon 

The Builder’s Group, a residential and commercial construction and remodeling company in Tuscaloosa, recently held a ribbon cutting at its new location (1307 25th Ave).; (205) 342-3940 

LIXIR Recovery beverage company is now open in the Tuscaloosa area. The company, owned by Chase and Caroline Barnes, offers a specially formulated beverage that may be used to cleanse, re-hydrate, and restore mental alertness due to dehydration.; (205) 242-3642 

Mathnasium of Tuscaloosa is now open. The math-only learning center is located in Midtown Village (1800 McFarland Blvd. Ste 303). The center helps children in grades 2-12 offers individual tutoring to explain math concepts and encourage learning.; (205) 764-1901 

Whataburger's second Tuscaloosa location is now open near the University of Alabama campus at 13th Street and McFarland Boulevard (1301 McFarland Blvd. E). Whataburger is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Texas-based burger chain opened its first Tuscaloosa restaurant earlier this year. 

News and Happenings 

Ed Hutchins, an analyst who works in Information Technology at the DCH Health System, has been named a recipient of the DCH Excellence Award. Hutchins joined DCH in June 2015. The Excellence Award is given to employees who exemplify the highest standards of excellence in attitude, job performance, dependability, appearance, and contributions to DCH beyond the call of duty.

Luke Standeffer, senior vice president of the DCH Health System and administrator of Northport Medical Center, was recently named chair-elect of the Alabama Hospital Association (AlaHA). The election was made at the Association’s annual meeting. 

Kentuck has a new marketing manager. Ashley Williams is a recent University of Alabama graduate with a longtime love of the arts. She is a former Kentuck Art Center intern.  

Monkey Joe’s, the Tuscaloosa children’s entertainment center which opened in September 2015, closed its doors on July 1. The property, which is owned by the University of Alabama, will be used for a new traffic bridge to support safe access to the campus and DCH.  

Andrew Tomes is NorthRiver Yacht Club’s new director of golf. Tomes, a native of Manchester, Tennessee, has been at NorthRiver since 2016, serving as the club’s head golf pro.   

The Nucor Technical Academy’s 5th freshman class is filling up quickly. The Academy offers essential coursework and extensive hands-on training. For more information, contact Justin Knight at or visit  

After 91 years in business, Tuscaloosa’s Union Furniture Co. was expected to close its doors this month. Established in 1927, Union Furniture was one of the state’s oldest and largest independent furniture dealers.  


The Barre Code Tuscaloosa (2700 University Blvd.), a fitness studio for women, will celebrate its one-year anniversary later this month.  

Innisfree Irish Pub in Tuscaloosa celebrated its 20th anniversary in Tuscaloosa on June 2 with live music, drink specials, crawfish, and special giveaways.  

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Druid City Living Business Happenings: June 2018 Druid City Living Business Happenings: June 2018

Druid City Living always wants to recognize our great local businesses. To the new businesses - welcome to town! Remember: Shop local. 

Now Open/Opening Soon 

18 Chopsticks is now open in Northport (824 McFarland Blvd.) The restaurant, which features traditional Vietnamese cuisine, including pho and sushi, opened its doors on May 15. (205) 331-4420 

Five Below is now open in the Shoppes at Legacy Park in Tuscaloosa (1451 Dr Edward Hillard Dr.). This teen-oriented retail chain sells a large assortment of games, snacks, jewelry, room decor & more – all for $1-5. (205) 758-1081; 

Precision Vein Therapeutics is now open in Northport (4112 Watermelon Road). This medical practice offers treatment of symptomatic and cosmetic vein disorders, including treatment of varicose veins, spider veins and venous ulcerations.; (205) 710-3800 

News and Happenings 

A new hotel is planned for the spot formerly occupied by Fire Station No. 1 on Lurleen B. Wallace Boulevard South.  AC Hotels by Marriott offers modern guestrooms, an AC Lounge co-working space, and more. The 8000-square-foot hotel should be open by the fall of 2019.  

BankFirst Financial Services will open a new bank in downtown Tuscaloosa (2301 Sixth St. – the parking lot behind First Baptist Church). The company plans to open early next year.  

Bowlero, an upscale bowling alley, will locate in the former Bruno’s Supermarket site (2001 McFarland Blvd E). Bowlero offers a high-tech bowling experience, featuring blacklight bowling lanes, food and drinks, and a state-of-the-art arcade. Expect Bowlero to open next year. 

Crunch Fitness is expected to open in the old Gander Mountain building (3325 McFarland Blvd E.). The company plans a $3 million, 42,000-square-foot fitness center offering fitness classes, free weights, a ride studio, and more. Crunch Fitness Tuscaloosa hopes to open on September 1. (205) 737-0738; 

Jalapeños Mexican Grill was selected as a 2018 American Small Business Champion by the SCORE Association, a non-profit group of thousands of volunteer business counselors throughout the U.S. The selection means Jalapeños advances to the American Small Business Championship, with the winner to be named in September.  

The Tuscaloosa County Civitan Club honored Lin D. Moore as Tuscaloosa County Citizen of the Year on May 16 during its annual luncheon. Moore has served as Chairman of Pritchett-Moore, Inc. insurance agency since 2004. Moore has been involved in numerous charitable and civic activities, including serving on the Board of Directors of the Tuscaloosa Housing Authority for more than two decades.  

Cardiothoracic surgeon Jamie Holland, MD, has joined the medical staff at DCH Regional Medical Center. Dr. Holland, who is board certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, specializes in coronary artery bypass grafting and mitral valve repair and replacement procedures. The name of his practice is West Alabama Cardiac Surgery.  He comes to DCH from Mercy St. Anne’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, where he was Chief and Medical Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery. 


9 Round Fitness recently celebrated its second anniversary in Tuscaloosa. 9 Round offers full-body workouts in 30 minutes. (205) 248-7641 

Frutta Bowls (2531 University Blvd. Suite 110) marks its first anniversary of its downtown Tuscaloosa location this month. Since opening in June 2017, Frutta Bowls has also opened a second location in Midtown Village. (205) 799-3817; 

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Local Administrator Elected to Statewide Association Office Local Administrator Elected to Statewide Association Office

Luke Standeffer, senior vice president of the DCH Health System and administrator of Northport Medical Center, was recently named chair-elect of the Alabama Hospital Association (AlaHA). The election was made at the Association’s annual meeting.

“Luke has been a critical leader for us in all of the areas in which he has served,” said Donald E. Williamson, MD, president of the Alabama Hospital Association. “He is dedicated to the members of the Association and the patients they serve and brings a calm, thoughtful perspective to our deliberations.”

Prior to his tenure in Northport, Standeffer was CEO of HealthSouth Medical Center in Birmingham and before that was administrator of a hospital in Richmond, Va. He had also served as assistant administrator at Fayette Medical Center early in his career. Standeffer earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Alabama and a Master of Business Administration from Mississippi State University.

He has served on the AlaHA Board as a member and officer, as president of two of the hospital councils, and as chair of several committees. He’s also served on the boards of the Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce, the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, the Birmingham Southern College Athletic Foundation and served as an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He received the Early Career Healthcare Executive Regent’s Award presented by the American College of Healthcare Executives. He was also recognized in theBirmingham Business Journal’s Who’s Who in Health Care and as an honoree in the 2004 Top Forty Under Forty. 

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Tuscaloosa's Second Whataburger Restaurant Opens Tuscaloosa's Second Whataburger Restaurant Opens

Whataburger has opened its doors to the second Tuscaloosa restaurant, located near the University of Alabama campus at 13th Street and McFarland Boulevard. The restaurant, which is open 24/7, officially opened this week.

In addition to fresh burgers, as well as other popular menu items including french fries, onion rings, chicken strips, and shakes, Whataburger is also bringing a few limited-time menu items including the fan-favorite Buffalo Ranch Chicken Strip Sandwich and Salted Caramel Shake. Whataburger’s breakfast menu, including the fan-favorite Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit and Taquitos, will be available from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m.

Customers also have the option to make all of Whataburger’s offerings their own by customizing them to their liking – substituting mustard or mayo, removing any toppings, adding their favorite sauces, grilled veggies, cheese, or any other unique pairings.

Whataburger is a proud sponsor of University of Alabama athletics, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, gymnastics, softball, and baseball. To show Whataburger’s support for the university, there is a Crimson Tide logo on the exterior of the restaurant and a mural showcasing iconic photos of the University of Alabama on display in the dining room.

“Whataburger received such positive response from the community after opening our first restaurant,” said Whataburger Director of Operations John Attra. “By adding another location close to campus, we look forward to continuing our involvement with the university and satisfying all-day cravings and late-night appetites.”


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City of Tuscaloosa Considers New Approach to Some Business Licenses, Seeks Feedback City of Tuscaloosa Considers New Approach to Some Business Licenses, Seeks Feedback

The City of Tuscaloosa will hold an open house this Thursday, June 21, 3-6 p.m. at City Hall in the Daugherty Conference Room to discuss proposed updates to the City’s business license structure.

In this come-and-go event, business owners can review and provide feedback on the proposed amendments that were recommended after a thorough analysis comparing Tuscaloosa’s rates to other major municipalities in Alabama.

The types of businesses that could be affected are:
-Telecommunications: Local phone service and long-distance phone service
-Recreation: Carnivals, circuses and rodeos
-Financial: Check cashing and title loan businesses
-Storage: Warehousing, mini storage and self-storage
-Waste collection: Collection, landfill and recycling

Business licenses are second only to the sales and use tax as a general fund revenue source in Tuscaloosa; the sales tax makes up roughly half of the general fund and licenses make up 15 percent. In the 2017 license year, 11,219 licenses were issued, and they generated approximately $23 million in revenue. The proposed changes could yield an estimated additional annual revenue of $46,900 and could affect approximately 100 businesses.

By updating Tuscaloosa’s business license structure, the City will continue to evolve with today’s economic environment. The proposed effective date of any changes is the 2019 license year.

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Leadership Tuscaloosa Class of 2017-18 Graduates Leadership Tuscaloosa Class of 2017-18 Graduates

Forty-one members of the 2017-18 class of Leadership Tuscaloosa, a nine-month leadership development program, graduated at a ceremony held at Smith Hall’s Museum of Natural History May 17. 

Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and the University of Alabama System, the program is designed to make each selected participant more aware of and sensitive to the wide range of needs and opportunities in the community through shared experiences with a cross section of highly capable fellow citizens. 

Mark Sullivan, President, Synovus Bank, and a graduate of the program, served as chair for this year’s Leadership Tuscaloosa class. The Keynote speaker was Representative Bill Poole.  

The David Reynolds Spirit of Leadership Award was presented to Jennifer Naves of BBVA Compass. 

The Leadership Tuscaloosa Class is:

Scott Anders, Tuscaloosa County Commission; Charles Bailey IV, Pritchett Moore Inc.; Benjamin Bickerstaff, University of Alabama; NaTa’sha Black, Tuscaloosa News; Jon Blakeney, William Blakeney Building Co., Inc.; Tacy Bolling, University of Alabama System; Stephanie Buffaloe, Home Instead Senior Care; Brandon Chalmers, Tuscaloosa’s One Place; Elizabeth Cochrane, Cadence Bank; April Coleman, DCH Health System; Allyson Cooper, University Medical Center; Stephen Dethrage, The Tuscaloosa News; Nicole DuBose, Shelton State Community College; Amy Ford, DCH Health System; Scott Gaddy, Nucor Steel Tuscaloosa, Inc.; Kenneth Gaddy, University of Alabama; Jerran Hill, University of Alabama; June Holmes, Capstone Bank; Gloria Horton, Mercedes-Benz U.S International; Dennis Horton, BFGoodrich/Michelin; Eric Hull, Black Warrior Brewing Co.; Katie King, The University of Alabama; Madolyn Kirby, Matrix, LLC ; Christopher Lanoux, Parker Towing, Inc.; Crystal Lovorn, Resasant Bank; Joseph McAbee, McAbee Construction Inc.; Case McNeill, College Station Properties; Donna Meester, The University of Alabama; Rebecca Minder, The University of Alabama; Jennifer Naves, BBVA Compass; Scott Nichols, McAbee Construction; Susan Poole, The Westervelt Company; Jasmine Rainey, Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports; Michael Scott, Mercedes-Benz U.S International; Edmund Sexton Jr., McAbee Construction Inc.; Jennifer Harris Sherman, Sickle Cell Disease Association; Jennifer Stripling, JamisonMoneyFarmer PC; Jennifer Taylor, City of Tuscaloosa; Zach Ward, Ward Scott Architecture; Jill White, Rosen Harwood, PA; Brian Wysock, TTL, Inc.

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Druid City Living Business Happenings: May 2018 Druid City Living Business Happenings: May 2018

Druid City Living always wants to recognize our great local businesses. To the new businesses - welcome to town! Remember: Shop local. 

Now Open/Opening Soon 

Excelsior Staffing is now open in Tuscaloosa (3816 Palisades Drive). This full-service staffing firm offers a full suite of staffing services including temporary, temporary to permanent and direct placement. (205) 614-5388; 

Frutta Bowls has opened a second location in Tuscaloosa, at Midtown Village (1800 McFarland Blvd.). The health foods eatery serves acai, pitaya and kale bowls, along with smoothies, and more. (205) 758-1719; 

The Greasy Hands Barbershop has opened its doors in Tuscaloosa (2008 8th St.). A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on April 5. Greasy Hands offers haircuts, clean shaves, beard trims, and more. Greasy Hands also has locations in Huntsville and Florence. 

Homewood-based Real & Rosemary restaurant plans to open two locations in Tuscaloosa. The first restaurant (1530 McFarland Blvd North) was expected to open in April; the second location (2128 University Blvd.) will open this summer.  The restaurant is focused on “real food” – i.e. food free of preservatives, food dyes, and MSG.  Menu items include fresh, home-cooked vegetables, as well as roasted and grilled meats and seafood dishes.  

The Rustic Rehab is now open in Northport (4500 Highway 69 N.). An official grand opening ceremony was held on March 30. The shop specializes in furniture restoration, as well as offering farmhouse style décor and new and used furniture. (205) 330-2569 

Tuscaloosa Family Dental is now open in Hillcrest Plaza (7402 Highway 69 South, Suite H). Dr. Kimberly Parker’s practice features 3D CBCT imaging, digital x-rays, and other state-of-the-art equipment and patient care in a relaxed, comfortable environment. (205) 722-7550; 


Dr. Kenneth W. Aldridge, a local urologist and vice president for medical affairs for the DCH Health System, recently received the Garber Galbraith Medical-Political Award from the Medical Alumni Association of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. The award recognizes Aldridge “for outstanding service to the medical profession” in the medical-political arena. 

A new Medical Center is coming to Alberta – one that will offer a variety of different specialties, as well as general care. It will be located at the intersection of University Boulevard and Alberta Drive. Developer Mark Hearing hopes construction will begin by the end of 2018. 

Schoolyard Roots (formerly the Druid City Garden Project) has named Stephanie Reinhart as its new executive director. Reinhart received her bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Education from Ohio University and her Master’s in Health Promotion from The University of Alabama. Prior to joining the Schoolyard Roots team, she designed and managed a variety of recreation programs at the collegiate and community non-profit levels. 


The Local Roots food truck celebrated its two-year anniversary in a big way on April 28 at Government Plaza, with Alabama Roots Fest, a downtown gathering (held in conjunction with Frutta Bowls) featuring food as well as live music from Robert Randolph, Will Hoge, and Adam Hood. 

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Alabama Governor Kay Ivey Speaks at Chamber’s Annual State of the State Governor Kay Ivey delivers the keynote address at Chamber in Session: State of the State in Tuscaloosa on May 15.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey delivered the keynote address during the Chamber in Session: State of the State event, held on May 15 at the Embassy Suites in downtown Tuscaloosa.

The annual event is designed to provide Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama members with updates from key officials on public policy topics. Hundreds attended this year’s luncheon.

Governor Ivey spoke about changes she has made for the state of Alabama while she has been governor. She has worked closely with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and local officials during six weather related States of Emergency and has successfully improved the state's communication and response to natural disasters.

Governor Ivey said that Alabama's economy is performing well with unemployment down, revenues are up, and economic development is on the rise. Since she became governor, over $3.5 billion dollars in new direct investments have been committed in the state. These investments have created nearly 8,000 new jobs for Alabama workers. The most recent unemployment numbers put the unemployment rate at 3.5 percent which is the lowest rate ever recorded in Alabama.

Governor Ivey also spoke about her Strong Start, Strong Finish education initiative which improves education all the way from Pre-K to the workforce. She spoke briefly about her General Fund Budget project which is working to help the state fund government appropriately. 

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Governor Kay Ivey to Speak at Chamber in Session: State of the State, on May 15 Governor Kay Ivey to Speak at Chamber in Session: State of the State, on May 15

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey will speak to Chamber members at Tuesday’s Chamber in Session: State of the State event, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at Embassy Suites.

Designed to provide Chamber members with updates from key officials on public policy topics, the event is expected to attract close to 300 attendees.

“This year’s State of the State event is of particular significance, as it falls during an election year,” said Jim Page, the President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. “Alabama is faced with not only complex issues, but also opportunities for growth and investment, and our members look forward to hearing potential solutions from our officials. Open dialogue between our elected officials and the business community is extremely important.”

Presenting Sponsor for Chamber in Session: State of the State is The University of Alabama System. Gold Sponsors for the event are Embassy Suites – Downtown Tuscaloosa and TekLinks.

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