Annual BIG Marketing & PR Event Slated for Oct. 29

All local marketing and PR rock stars out there: Looking for new tools to sharpen your craft?

Would you like to discover better ways to effectively promote a business venture while enjoying an opportunity to network with others in your wheelhouse?

The seventh annual BIG Marketing & PR Event is where you want to be Oct. 29.

Presented at the Jackson Center, the event is a day-long experience focused on providing strategy-driven marketing and public relations idea and information.

Debra Alfarone, an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and CEO of Debra Alfarone Media, a Washington, D.C.-based video coaching firm, will present the Lunchtime Keynote.

In her presentation, “How to GTFO Your Own Way So You Can Create Anything!”, Alfarone will address the labels and limitations inferred by others and hackneyed storylines people often place on themselves, challenge participants to take inspired action, and create the positive energy needed to attract the right people and opportunities at the right time and place.

Entrepreneurs, small business owners, marketing and PR professionals, nonprofit organizations, and government contractors can benefit from breakout presentations on content management, digital marketing and advertising, modern media myths, creative visual storytelling, how to use video to build brands, and how human resources and marketing can join forces for recruiting.

A networking after-party at Rocket City Tavern will cap off the day’s events.

The BIG Marketing & PR Event is sponsored by Red Sage Communications and co-hosted by The Catalyst and the North Alabama chapter of the Public Relations Council of Alabama.

To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-big-marketing-pr-event-tickets-70543578743#

 

MartinFederal Awarded $3.5 Million RMDA Contract

MartinFederal Consulting has been awarded a two-year, $3.5 million contract by the Army Records Management and Declassification Agency.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with the Records Management and Declassification Agency to provide the highest level of service possible,” said Corey Martin, company president and CEO. “We have a tremendous team with vast experience in records management and are thrilled about this opportunity. “

The Records Management and Declassification Agency is responsible for the entire spectrum of the Army’s interrelated records management programs including Army Records Management, Army Freedom of Information, Army Privacy, Civil Liberties, Joint Services Records Research, and Declassification of Army Records.

Headquartered in Huntsville, MartinFederal is an SBA 8(a) and SDVOSB providing high-tech solutions to the federal government. Visit www.martinfed.com.

Stovehouse’s ‘Retailtainment’ Concept to Include Gaslight Alley Retail District

There is nothing new about restaurants and retailers using a little pizzazz to entice customers to buy or experience their products and services.

Mexican restaurants have Mariachi bands; traditional pizza parlors entertain customers twirling pizza crusts; New Orleans chefs shuck oysters and suck crawfish heads for their customers; and retailers have BOGOs and Midnight Madness sales.

Gaslight Alley’s design is inspired by decorated alleys and shops in St. Augustine, Fla., and Lovat Lane in London. (Rendering/Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate)

But, according to Haley Clemons, marketing coordinator for Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate Group, retailers notice contemporary shoppers and diners are putting more importance on the experience of eating and shopping than they have in the past.

“Businesses in the retail industry are adopting out-of-the-box strategies to attract new audiences that value entertainment and interacting with brands in creative ways,” Clemons said. “Known as ‘retailtainment’ … many concepts are drawing in traffic by going above and beyond the basic shopping trip.”

Yoga-wear stores hosting in-shop fitness classes, or beauty brands encouraging their clientele to participate in the creation of their own purchases, are examples of this.

The Stovehouse Food & Leisure Garden, which is at the heart of the old stove factory property, is the perfect example of a venue conceived on the idea of retailtainment.

They have taken compatible concepts such as casual dining, live music, outdoor games, and special events and brought them together to collaborate. This creates a casual, inclusive atmosphere at the Stovehouse that is extremely popular with millennials.

Stovehouse Phase II: Gaslight Alley

With the success of the Stovehouse Food & Leisure Garden, developers are beginning Phase II where they will essentially repurpose an entirely separate section of the expansive old factory for retail, taking care to maintain the property’s old-world architecture and atmosphere. The “old-world shopping district” is called Gaslight Alley.

“Encompassing several retail spaces along a beautiful cobblestone walkway, Gaslight Alley will be home to all kinds of concepts with the hopes of attracting boutiques, soft goods, home décor, hair salons, and more,” said Clemons. “The possibilities are endless, and the district has already captured businesses — some that are scheduled to make their debut later this year.”

The Burn Collective is already hosting events at Stovehouse and its space will be open soon. (Photo/Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate)

When finished, Gaslight Alley, whose design is inspired by decorated alleys and shops in St. Augustine, Fla., and Lovat Lane in London, will be an eclectic shopping experience and a hotspot for one-stop destination shopping and retailtainment.

Currently, several businesses have set up office space at Stovehouse. Spur, Onyx Aerospace, Star Lab, Liberty Learning, and the Stovehouse Properties team are all housed there.

“Gaslight Alley businesses will also be part of the growing West Huntsville entertainment district that connects to nearby Campus 805,” said Clemons.

Among the committed tenants so far are Charlie Foster’s Coffee, F24 Training and the Burn Collective Fit Studio.

Charlie Foster’s is a locally owned, multi-roaster coffee shop at the entrance to Gaslight Alley. There is the 1,850-square-foot shop with a 500-square-foot outdoor patio. They will sell coffee beans from around the U.S., but the most unique thing about Charlie Foster’s is their plan to offer jobs to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

F45 Training, across from Charlie Foster’s, is a 2,835-square-foot functional training center offering high-intensity group circuit training classes. They will provide themed workouts and bring in a live DJ to get people motivated. They will be opening before the end of the year.

On a more mainstream level, the Burn Collective Fit studio is in the breezeway connecting to Gaslight Alley. They offer individual and group training in cardio, sculpting, and yoga barre classes, as well as athleisure apparel, candles, and jewelry. They are relocating from Franklin Street downtown.

 

Torch Technologies No. 8 on Entrepreneur 360 List

Torch Technologies has been recognized for the third consecutive year as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur360 List.

Based on the study, Torch is recognized as a well-rounded company that has mastered a balance of impact, innovation, growth, leadership, and value.  The Huntsville-based company ranked eighth out of 360 organizations this year, up from 11 in 2018 and 16 in 2017. 

“We are proud to have again been recognized by Entrepreneur magazine for our distinctive approach to innovation, growth, leadership, and culture,” said Torch President and CEO John Watson. “Our continued success as a 100% employee-owned company is thanks our invaluable employee-owners.

“We are privileged to be part of a growing group of extraordinary people who are innovative and bright, and who make Torch a great place to work.”

 “Every entrepreneur knows that a healthy business isn’t just about growth. It’s about being well-rounded—growing your culture and your systems as strongly as you grow your revenue,” said Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine. “That’s why we’re excited to celebrate these companies with our fifth annual Entrepreneur360 ranking.

“The companies that make the list have pushed boundaries with their innovative ideas, fostered strong company cultures, impacted their communities for the better, strengthened their brand, and grown impressively as a result.”

Honorees were identified based on the results from a comprehensive study of independently- owned companies, using a proprietary algorithm and other advanced analytics. The algorithm was built on a balanced scorecard designed to measure five metrics reflecting major pillars of entrepreneurship—innovation, growth, leadership, impact, and business valuation.

Happy Halloween! Cecil Ashburn set to Reopen by End of the Month

The upcoming reopening of Cecil Ashburn has commuters rejoicing as they look forward to cutting their driving time down considerably.

Business owners are also rejoicing, as they anticipate a return to normalcy and faster commutes for themselves and their clientele when two lanes of the road are scheduled to open by the end of the month.

Ben Patterson, general manager of Mellow Mushroom in Jones Valley, admitted that the restaurant has taken a hit, as diners have chosen to go elsewhere for pizza rather than brave the traffic from the other side of the mountain.

“It has definitely hurt business,” he said. “We have been down quite a bit since January.”

Widely known for its eclectic, funky atmosphere, Mellow Mushroom does have some pretty loyal clientele and Patterson added that although they did continue to see many of their regular diners at dinner and lunch, the overall numbers were down through the winter.

“We did have an ok summer,” Patterson said. “Our projections were a little off and we did a little better than we thought we would.”

As for their neighbors across the street at Terrame Day Spa, business has remained steady. Owner Charles Johnson said his business has fared well throughout the shutdown.

“We have been very fortunate because people make appointments with us and they are able to plan it out a little bit,” he said.

Since the closing of Cecil Ashburn in January, an average 10-minute commute can take as much as 25 minutes, and Johnson believes the inconvenience of the extra drive time weighs heavily on the consumer’s decision on where to eat and shop.

He said Terrame has fared well during the shutdown due to it being a largely appointment-based establishment with a very loyal customer base.

“Business has remained steady,” Johnson said. “But I know, with restaurants and other businesses, the plans are often made at the last minute.”

According to the city, the asphalt wearing layer, temporary striping and traffic control devices will be installed on the eastbound lanes prior to reopening two lanes to traffic.

Other work, including completing concrete ditches along the north side and completion of the remaining lanes on Sutton Road, will continue after October.

The $18 million project is expected to be completed by May 2020.

 

 

For Founder Larry Lowe, Fractal Brewing Blends the Old and the New

Leave it to an electrical engineer to select a math term to name his new business.

Fractal Brewing Project is ready to take your order. (Photo/Eric Schultz)

That’s what Larry Lowe did in branding the Fractal Brewing Project, which opened Sept. 18, in the building that once housed local craft micro-breweries Olde Towne and Straight to Ale but has been empty for the past two years.

Fractal, as defined by Random Word, is “a never-ending pattern in mathematics built from repeated shapes that are reduced each time they repeat.”

Sounds cool, even for those of us who have no idea what it means.

Cool also defines the renovated tavern at 3200 Leeman Ferry Road. The look of the place will be somewhat new to former patrons of the site under its old banners — the tap room has been relocated, Lowe brought in wood for tables and tabletops that was locally sourced, two large barn doors separate the tap room from the event area, for instance.

But, Lowe added, while he expects customers to make new memories, he also hopes the vibe the former tenants provided is the same. Olde Towne in the early 2000s and Straight to Ale some five years later were the first breweries in the city since prohibition ended.

“If there was ever a historic marker for craft beer in Huntsville, Alabama, it should be this building,” Lowe said as workers prepared to place signs on the building the day before the doors opened for business. “I wanted to try to preserve the building, try to preserve the old character of the trail blazers that came before.

“When I was going through the process and told people what I was doing, their eyes would sparkle and they’d say,’ You know, I met my husband there,’ or, ‘I had my baby shower there,’ or ‘I had my brother’s funeral (wake) there.’ There were so many good memories in this building and it was such a community place. That’s what I wanted to do. Give everybody a new experience but preserve the character of the old place.”

Lowe spent 22 years in the defense industry after graduating Grissom (Class of ‘93) and then Auburn (MS in ‘99, Ph.D. ‘01). He served as vice president at Huntsville’s GATR Technologies and was part of the executive team that put inflatable SATCOM antennas on the market.

Cubic Corporation bought GATR in 2016. Lowe said he “hung around for three years during the transition” but wanted to move on to something different. He had served as vice president at GATR under Paul Gierow, the president, and wanted to be in charge of his own business.

Fractal Brewing Project is open ready to serve its customers. (Photo/Eric Schultz)

“I was itching to try to do something else,” he said. “Watching Paul run the company, I was just kind of riding shotgun watching Paul make all the decisions. I had the itch to see if I could run my own business and being the one to call all of the shots.”

Professional brewer and retired Marine Brad “Robo’’ Robinson is on board after stints as brewmaster at four sites, including two in town. Tap room manager is veteran Justin Wenz. Fractal has event space, a catering staging area and is wired for conferences and live music.

Lowe said his staff is capable, allowing him to spend some time with wife Amanda and their three children. That doesn’t mean he won’t been seen at his new “Project.”

“I never found that you could be creative in your cubicle or the board room,” Lowe said. “Those aren’t creating meetings. I found the most creating environments were places like breweries where people gather and dig into the next problems and minds get creative.”

Radiance Wins Contract to Support NASIC; Ceiling of $997M

Radiance Technologies has been awarded a Blanket Purchase Agreement by the General Services Administration to provide scientific and technical intelligence support services to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. The agreement has a five-year base period, five one-year option periods, and a total ceiling of $997 million.

“Our win is the culmination of years of hard work that started with a single task supporting NASIC as a subcontractor in 2001,” said Bryan Johnson, Radiance Chief Operating Officer. “Over the years, our goal has simply been to provide NASIC the best support possible. We are honored to continue that support as a prime contractor.”

The majority of work will be performed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Beavercreek, Ohio.

The Radiance contractor team includes Battelle, COLSA Corp., Northrop Grumman, Parsons Government Services and Teledyne Brown Engineering.

Madison Chamber Hosts Annual Tee Up Fore Business Tourney

MADISON — Many a successful business deal has been hatched on a golf course and the second annual Tee-Up Fore Business Golf Tournament sponsored by the Madison Chamber of Commerce and Polaris is everyone’s opportunity to crow a little about their business!

Wednesday is the deadline to register for the Madison Chamber of Commerce’s annual Tee Off Fore Business Tournament. (Photo/Madison Chamber of Commerce)

The Madison Chamber of Commerce is looking for 10 more foursomes for the tournament, which will be held Friday, Sept. 20, at the Sunset Landing Golf Course. The scramble play tees off at 8 a.m. to a shotgun-start.

“We welcome anyone, not just Chamber members and not just good golfers, who are looking for some fun, a laid-back networking opportunity, and many chances to win cash prizes and awards,” said Pam Honeycutt, executive director of the Madison Chamber of Commerce. “The scramble play means all you need is one good player in your group so amateurs, duffers, and beginners can mix it up with those who are good players … we are offering two flights, so there are multiple ways to win prizes.”

There will be raffles, a putting contest, closest to the pin contest, longest drive contest, and the grand prize is a $500 air travel voucher from the Port of Huntsville. Prizes will be given for first, second and last place – yes, that is correct – there will be a prize for finishing last!

Furthermore, there are two hole-in-one opportunities: Ace it on one par 3 and win a $10,000 cash prize, or hole it out on the second par 3 and win a $40,000 Genesis G70 from Genesis of Huntsville, sponsored by the Lee Co. The luxury vehicle will be on-hand to entice players to give it their best shot.

The cost is $320 per foursome and includes two golf carts, green fees, breakfast, lunch and a goodie bag for each player.

Players can sign up through Wednesday, Sept. 18. Golf attire (collared shirts, no jeans, and soft-spike golf shoes only) is required.

For information, visit madisonalchamber.com.

Fourth Annual MOMpreneur Event: Dig it, Water it, Grow Your Business

Running a successful business and being a full-time, 24/7 mom present unique challenges.

To help mom entrepreneurs effectively run their households and live their best life possible, all while operating a business, the Catalyst Center for Business and Entrepreneurship presents the Fourth Annual MOMpreneur Event.

Hosted Friday, Sept. 20, in the new I2C building on the UAH campus, MOMpreneur is designed to help business-minded moms connect and provide the resources to help small businesses grow. This day-long event features a wide assortment of presenters and panelists who will provide valuable insight, experience, and tools to help business owners shine.

Empowerment, encouragement, and education are just a few of the things that mom entrepreneurs will take away from this event. This is the event for you if you are:

  • Looking to gain inspiration and rediscover your “why?”
  • Wanting to refocus your goals and learn how to manage time to achieve those goals
  • Seeking to learn about technologies that will help you work smarter not harder
  • Committed to finding tools to help you manage and grow your business successfully
  • Eager to find time for yourself, to better focus on personal and business needs
  • Hoping to connect with like-minded mom entrepreneurs to share resources and business opportunities

In addition to breakout sessions addressing topics such as Business Relationship Building, Branding and Brand Management, Time tracking and Project Management, Goal Oriented Content Strategy, and Social Media, there will be guest speakers and a “Successful Moms in Business” Panel featuring:

  • Toni Eberhart – Strategic Communications Specialist at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing US and Urban Engine Board Member
  • Amanda Howard – Founder and CEO of Amanda Howard Sotheby’s International Realty
  • Dawn Pumpelly – Editor and Owner of “The Scout Guide – Huntsville”
  • Amber Gray – Owner, Gray Salon
  • Sonia Robinson – Executive Director of BIO Alabama and President of Dash Consulting, LLC

The afternoon will be capped by the “Happiest of Hours,” a networking happy hour where mom entrepreneurs can become better acquainted and discuss the takeaways of the day.

If you’re a mom trying to manage your home life and business venture, don’t miss this. For information and registration: http://catalystcenter.org.

The Catalyst is a 501-C-3 nonprofit and serves as a driver for economic growth and job creation in the Huntsville area.

 

 

Gold Sprint: A Tale of Bikes and Beans

Differentiation is in the details.

The cozy, eclectic interior of Gold Sprint is very welcoming. (Photo/Steve Babin)

With so many new tantalizing third-wave coffee hangs popping up in Huntsville, there’s only one that features a trike-riding stuffed raccoon that’s toting a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Add to that are felt pennants, elaborately designed skateboards, and a multitude of karate trophies.

Gold Sprint Coffee + Bikes is destined to be eclectic, funky, yet still serve you up a memorable cup o’ Joe.

The shop and its quirky décor promise to be quite the unique place to hang out or telework.

Within easy walking distance of the Huntsville Parks and Recreation office, Trailhead and Lowe Mill, Gold Sprint sits at the corner of 1st Street and 9th Avenue with Huntsville West and Urban Engine a good solid walk or bike ride away.

Everything about Gold Sprint has been well-thought out and carefully executed. From the bar design, to the kitchen and the main area tables and seating, there are no accidents.

“We want to be that third space between work and home.” (Photo/Steve Babin)

Although the vibe is geared toward avid and recreational cyclists, the space promises to have guaranteed appeal teleworkers, soccer moms, and aspiring entrepreneurs.

“We want to be a destination location,” said owner Victor Burlingame.

Burlingame’s years of experience in the cycle shop world have prepared him for this moment.

“The bike shop influences how we work here,” he said. “We are the ‘fixed gears’ of coffee shops. Fixed gears appeal to different people. If fixed gears are what gets people into bikes, the same analogy can apply to coffee.

“There is no ‘wrong’ drink.”

Then, there’s the coffee.

“For our roasts, we are working with Domestique, a socially responsible coffee importer and roaster and also the best coffee in Birmingham,” said Burlingame.

The newly minted staff of established baristas is committed to providing a quality product and top-notch customer service.

“Personality is as important as coffee and we want to give customers the best product for their dollar,” said Burlingame. “We want to be that third space between work and home.”

Inspired by the iconic Bottletree café in Birmingham, Gold Sprint has plans to book live music.

“There’s a lot of homogenization of the world because of Pinterest and Instagram,” said Burlingame. “If we build something, they (our competitors) will have to copy us.”