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A landmark groundbreaking for Madison, Duluth Trading Co.

Duluth Trading Co. will open its first Alabama retail store in Town Madison next year.

 

MADISON — It was a “less than perfect weather day but a perfect day for a groundbreaking.”

With those remarks, Madison Chamber of Commerce Board President Carmelita Palmer opened a landmark groundbreaking ceremony Friday.

The Duluth Trading Co., an innovative apparel retailer noted for its unique TV commercials (the store has a link to the commercials on is website – https://www.duluthtrading.com/TV+Ads.html) will open a 15,000-square-foot retail store in the city’s Town Madison development.

“We are so excited,” said Madison Mayor Paul Finley. “To have Duluth come here … when people heard Duluth Trading was coming here, there is so much excitement.”

The store, Duluth Trading’s first in the state, will join Home2 Suites Hilton, convenience store Twice Daily and other offices and retailers in West End at Town Madison, which adjoins the Intergraph/Hexagon campus along Interstate-565. Duluth Trading is slated to open around the middle of next year.

“This is an exciting day for Town Madison,” said Joey Ceci, representing developer Louis Breland. “You couldn’t pick a better retailer” to join the project’s lineup.

Town Madison is a 563-acre modern, walkable, urban community which will also be the home of the minor league baseball Rocket City Trash Pandas and a Margaritaville Hotel.

Minnesota-based Oppidan Investment Co., a national property development firm, is the project developer.

Like everyone else at the ceremony, the 40-degree, rainy weather was on the mind of Oppidan’s Jay Moore – but in a different way.

“This is nice weather; it’s a switch for us,” he said.

Moore said Duluth was looking around the area for its first Alabama retail store before deciding on Madison.

“We approached Breland about a year ago,” he said. “We are super proud to be one of the first retailers in this fine development.”

From left, Chamber Board President Carmelita Palmer, Mayor Paul Finley, Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong and Oppidan’s Jay Moore take part in the groundbreaking ceremony.

Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong said the store will enable the development to become an economic engine and a destination.

“This is the start of a destination location,” he said. “To Duluth, this is a great investment. You’ll never regret it.”

Despite the grey skies and gloomy weather, Finley reflected the optimism of the big event and the future it beckons.

“This is a sun shiny day for the city of Madison.”

Madison Chamber Slays a Few Dragons with Annual Business Expo & Kids Day

The 2018 Madison Business and Kids Expo had a Dragons and Castles theme.

MADISON — Kings, queens, princes and princesses of all ages descended on the Madison Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo and Kids Day 2018 Saturday at the Hogan Family YMCA.

With this year’s theme “Dragons & Castles!”, it felt more like a community carnival than a business event, although more than 60 businesses showcased their products and services. They were surrounded by face and rock painting, an inflatable bouncy house, balloon animals,  courtyard games with prizes, and a dunking booth targeting Madison City dignitaries.

Gold sponsors set up their castles in the rotunda where they gave out candy, face and clothing stickers, and provided paper crowns and shields for the kids to color themselves.

It was the first year exhibiting at the Expo for Madison’s new Integrity Family Care.

“We are doing free blood pressure screenings and introducing people to our Meet K mobile app where you can chat about your symptoms and get faster family care,” said Integrity’s Lacey Jackson.

Both Alexander Martial Arts and Jeong’s Yong-In Martial Arts put on their annual demonstrations, but the Expo expanded its theatrical performances this year with a Madison City Community Orchestra performance and a skit performed by Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater in the forecourt.

“Community involvement is at the heart of what we do,” said Emily Bonomo, marketing coordinator for the Lee Company. “It is family-friendly event where we can bring our own kids to work!”

Matt Curtis Real Estate created their own head-in-the-hole poster board, so kids could get a picture of themselves as a knight in shining armor.

“We love coming out to community events,to mix and mingle with the community and being able to show them what we do,” said Diana Hughes, social media manager at Matt Curtis Real Estate, one of the Expo’s long-time sponsors.
“This has been fun for us. We have spent the last couple of days as a team working on the castle and getting everything ready to bring with us.”

Out in the parking lot, HEMSI and Madison Fire & Rescue offered tours of a fire truck and an ambulance, while SARTEC brought out highly-trained rescue dogs to interact with the attendees.

There was no shortage of munchies as food trucks served everything from ice cream and snow cones to barbecue.

There were a couple of baseball games in play, and a Dunk Tank fundraiser with proceeds going to the Hogan YMCA’s 2018 Changing Lives Annual Giving Campaign. On the dunking seat were WDRM and WTAK radio hosts Josie Lane and Johnny Maze; Madison Fire Chief David Bailey, and Rainbow Elementary School Principal, Brian Givens.

“It is all about community for us,” said an IberiaBank representative in the doorway of an elaborately decorated castle façade, handing out candy and face stickers. “We have been attending the Expo for many years and every year it gets bigger and better for everyone.”

“Our goal is to unite all public and private interests to support those activities that are broader than any single business or industry,” said Chamber Executive Director, Pam Honeycutt. “The Madison Chamber of Commerce cannot succeed without its valued members, and we work hard to help our members stay involved, connected and informed through events like the Business Expo and Kids Day.

Top Ten nickname finalists for new baseball team revealed

MADISON — The 10 finalists in the BallCorps LLC “Name the Team” contest have been revealed.

Ballcorps is the owner of the Southern League baseball franchise to be relocated from Mobile to Madison for the 2020 season. All names were nominated by residents of the Tennessee Valley.

Working with Brandiose of San Diego, the Minor League Baseball industry’s premiere branding partner, 10 names were selected based on uniqueness and how each name relates to the characteristics of Madison and surrounding communities.

In a press release, the BallCorps said the names were chosen to further its goal of providing affordable fun to families in North Alabama and southern Tennessee.

Voting on the finalists will extend through noon Aug. 16, after which five names will be eliminated, and the five leading names will be open for voting. The team name will be announced at a public event on Sept. 5.

To vote, visit www.northalabamabaseball.com

The top 10 names in alphabetical order are:
Army Ants The Army’s Redstone Arsenal serves as a center for missile and national defense programs and employs more than 40,000 members of our community.
Comet Jockeys “Rocket City” was put on the map for its cutting-edge aerospace development. Comet Jockeys is a celebration of our brave astronauts who explore outer space.
GloWorms Glow worms are rare tiny bioluminescent creatures that call the caves at Dismals Canyon in North Alabama home, one of few places in North America.
Lunartics We are home to some of the wildest mad scientists facing today’s challenges in space and technology.
Moon Possums A scavenger at heart, these local critters are known for hanging around and having a good time with their family.
Puffy Head Bird Legs No joke! It’s lingo coined by our astronauts for body fluid moving from feet to head in outer space due to the lack of gravity!
Space Chimps A tribute to Miss Baker, one of the first animals safely launched into space. She is buried on the grounds at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.
Space Sloths A nod to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the Space Sloths is up there with classic Minor League Baseball names like IronPigs, Flying Squirrels, Chihuahuas and Jumbo Shrimp.
ThunderSharks Mix the powerful thunder of North Alabama’s storms with the ultra-strong, sleek determination of the shark and you end up with the personality of our community: willing to attack any problem.
Trash Pandas (Slang for raccoon) Our community is known for engineering, and no creature in our galaxy is as smart, creative, determined and ingenious a problem solver – dedicated to the challenge at hand – as our local raccoons.

Madison sets groundbreaking for development, baseball stadium

MADISON — The first pitch won’t be thrown for another two years, but progress continues to round the bases for Madison’s multi-use development, including a baseball stadium for the city’s new minor league team.

City officials have set a groundbreaking for June 9 at the site of Town Madison, adjacent to I-565 and Zierdt Road. The event, which will feature ballpark fare such as popcorn and hot dogs, starts at 5 p.m. and the public is welcome.

“Breaking ground on this project is momentous, and we appreciate the work that has led us to this point,” said Madison Mayor Paul Finley. “Celebrating with our community while enjoying free ballpark food like hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy is a fantastic way to rally together to start the process.”

A $46 million stadium, which will be the home of the minor league team, is the keystone of the development and is scheduled to be completed late next year.

BallCorps LLC, the owner of the Southern League’s Mobile BayBears, is moving the team to Madison and it will begin play in the 2020 season.

“Minor league baseball belongs back in North Alabama and we are thrilled to be a part of its return to the region,” said BallCorps Managing Partner and CEO Ralph Nelson. “We are excited to reveal more details about the team, its total integration into the community and to celebrate the start of construction.”

There will be a contest to name the team and commemorative baseballs will be given out to those who attend the groundbreaking celebration.