PHOTO: Over the last week, the City of Fort Payne held ribbon cuttings for a new Chick-Fil-A, Applebee's, UPS Store, and the Chamber of Commerce's new Loft Apartments, overlooking Gault Avenue. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)
By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor
FORT PAYNE, Ala. — This past week was huge for the Fort Payne Economy! The Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce held ribbon cuttings for Chick-Fil-A, a new UPS Store, loft apartments overlooking Gault Avenue, and a new AppleBee’s!
Last Thursday, everyone in town was out to welcome the new Chick-Fil-A! The operator of the new location, Kim Hall, addressed the crowd. She explained that a Fort Payne Chick-Fil-A had been part of her dreams for years:
“We’ve been wanting to be in Fort Payne for a long time. When I first put in my application to be an owner/operator, that was in 2004, we could give our choices of where we want to locate, and my number one on that application was Fort Payne,” said Hall.
“We love it here! We’ve made friends here already, and ya’ll are just such wonderful people, and have made us feel just so welcome. Ya’ll are great. We feel like we have a lot of friends already, so thank ya’ll for that,” she added.
Fort Payne Mayor Larry Chesser said, “I can’t welcome you anymore than you’ve already been welcomed. We thank you from the standpoint of the economic advantage that it’ll be for Fort Payne, but more than that, is the moral attitude and the philosophy of the company, that we really appreciate.”
“We have a very strong Christian community; there is over 50 churches in the city. They are all welcome, and we have a good Christian attitude, and anything that adds to that, we thank God for it. We need all the chicken we can eat,” added Chesser.
On Friday, the Fort Payne Chamber unveiled their new Loft Apartments, above the Chamber of Commerce Avenue in Fort Payne. The apartments overlook Gault Avenue, and will serve as a spot for Siemens’ for the next year as a “home away from home” for company executives.
Chamber Director Carol Beddingfield, who has worked hard to make this dream a reality said, “If we bring in more jobs, those people will need a place to live. Right now there is more demand for this type of thing.”
Beddingfield also described all the hard work it took to make loft apartments in Fort Payne a reality. “Together we can,” she concluded.
The front stairway leading up to the apartments is marked by a plaque, which denotes the date the apartments were opened, and companies that contributed $10,000 or more to the project. DC Gas, Vulcan Materials, Wiregrass Construction, DeKalb Regional Medical Center, Fort Payne Water Works, Turner Beverages, the Fort Payne Improvement Authority, and the MDA Professional Group all contributed big.
Last Monday morning, the Chamber also held a ribbon cutting for the Applebee’s; located in front of Dunham’s, off of Airport Road. The restaurant may be a chain, but it brings job to the community, and displays local flair in it's interior.
We caught up with Applebee’s General Manager Toby Hudson to ask how he felt about opening a new location in Fort Payne: “We’ve worked in the area for years,” he said.
“I think people will be excited to see what we bring to the community,” said Hudson. “Every year for Veteran’s Day, we give free meals to Veterans and Active Duty Military. Plus we add lots of local flavor to our locations in our interior artwork. We’re excited to be a part of this community.”