By Morgan Bryce
Associate Editor

The Smiths Station City Council voted unanimously to enter into a contract with Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Inc. for the construction of a new store at the corner of Lee Road 248 and U.S. Highway 280/431 during its regular meeting last Tuesday.
According to an official City of Smiths Station press release, the new, 8,600 sq. ft. space is expected to produce more than $3 million in annual taxable sales, feature two restaurants in Chester’s Chicken and Godfather’s Pizza and create 40 full-time jobs.
“Love’s will be the first large national brand that is coming to our city, and I believe it will be an excellent business venture. This is going to provide a huge boom and spark to our economic development and the city of Smiths Station as a whole,” said Smiths Station Mayor Bubba Copeland.
Representatives from Love’s and engineering companies tied to the project were in attendance at the meeting, including Love’s Real Estate Project Manager William Gleason.
He said the city’s continual development, flow of traffic, growth and prime location were major factors in his company’s decision to open a store in Smiths Station, the 16th in Alabama.
“We like to look for small towns across Alabama, and they just had a perfect spot for us here in Smiths Station. (The property) has a traffic light next to it, a bunch of roads and lot of big truck traffic that comes through on Highway 280,” Gleason said. “This is just the perfect fit for us.”
The property will be closed on Oct. 7, and Gleason added that the bidding process should take approximately two months to complete.
In a post-meeting interview, Copeland and Gleason set a target opening date for the store for fall 2019.
The council also heard and approved July’s general fund budget reports from Chief Financial Officer Shelby Branton.
In other business, the council:
• moved their regular Oct. 9 meeting to Oct. 11
• heard discussion and updates from Copeland on the progress of the Jones Store Museum and Government Center parking lot repaving.
The Smiths Station City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, with a work session beginning at 5:30 p.m. and regular meeting at 6 p.m. E.S.T. They meet in the city council chambers of the Smiths Station Government Center, which is located at 2336 Lee Road 430.