With holidays approaching, more retailers discovering rural Alabama opportunities

Photo credit: Bryan Davis

With holidays approaching, more retailers discovering rural Alabama opportunities

Topics: Commercial Real Estate, Development, Retail

Markets: Lee County, Montgomery Area, Statewide

There's no secret that online sales have taken their toll on retail centers across America.

Coupled with one of the worst economic recessions in U.S. history, retail has taken its share of hits over the past decade, but in many places, retailers are still seeking to bring their products directly to the customer with a brick and mortar business.

Louise Jennings, owner of Real Estate Southeast LLC, based in Prattville, said many rural areas in Alabama are still on retailers' radar screens, despite the rise of online sales.

"We're seeing a lot of new businesses coming into Alabama," Jennings said. "The smaller communities attract grocery, discount merchants, service and medical oriented businesses."

Recently, Jennings worked with Cushman & Wakefield to bring DaVita Dialysis to the Eufaula Town Center in Eufaula. She also worked with Horizon Properties to bring Workout Anytime to Corona Center in Boaz, as well as a Cricket Wireless.

In the past three months, Jennings has also brought a Dirt Cheap into Anniston, Davita Dialysis to Trussville, a Farmers Home Furniture to Adamsville and Waffle House to Russellville.

With the Christmas holidays approaching, and folks looking for deals online and inside of brick and mortar locations, Jennings said the value of good customer service is more important than ever in the stores of rural Alabama.

"Good customer service is the magic key for brick and mortar retailers," Jennings said. "A good shopping experience will bring back customers. No matter how convenient online is, we are social beings and enjoy the shopping environment."

Jennings said to expect more retailers to eye locations in small town Alabama.

Jennings said she has also seen a rise in medical leases, such as a new Baptist Health Center urgent care clinic in Millbrook, along with other healthcare providers.

"With our continued industry growth, more and more businesses are discovering Alabama, including smaller markets, which often have limited or no competition," Jennings said.