OPELILKA — Richard Patton moved from Mobile to Opelika when he was just six years old. He grew up attending Opelika City Schools, eventually graduating and moving to Tuscaloosa where he earned a degree in advertising from the University of Alabama. After graduation he moved to Birmingham, taking his first big job fresh out of college. He worked there for two years. He hated it.
Working for someone else didn’t work for Patton. He said he longed to be his own boss.
“I’d rather be poor, doing something that I like rather than what I was doing at the time.”
Patton ended up moving back to Opelika in his mid-20s and began his next phase of life, starting down a path that would help revitalize downtown Opelika.
After returning to Opelika, Patton ran a bed and breakfast for a while, eventually owning and operating a successful bar called Eighth and Rail in the historic downtown district. Over the years he has also branched out into the real estate world, purchasing several old cotton warehouse properties in downtown Opelika that are now renovated, leased and functioning as other miscellaneous businesses.
“When I made the decision to stay in Opelika, that I wanted to be here, I asked, ‘alright, what do I like to do and what can I help get here that are things that make my life better and others?’” Patton said. “So there’s a selfish side — I want good food and I want the brewery and etc. So, I’ve kind of searched out people and businesses that I thought would be good for downtown.”
When asked how he ended up in the hospitality business Patton said he thinks hospitality kinda came natural to him because of his mother.
“We were raised [to be] pretty hospitable children and her kind of goodness was in everything she did.”
Patton’s mother, Barbara, served for eight years as mayor of Opelika from 1996-2004 and is still actively involved in community affairs.
After selling Eighth and Rail Patton said he “still wanted music happening in the Opelika area” so he founded Cottonseed Studios with his friend Allison Kovak in 2013. There are two sides to the business with a focus on concerts and filmmaking. Patton said Kovak “has been a filmmaker by trade her entire life.”
Kovak is also originally from Opelika having moved away and spending time in Los Angeles making films. She ended up back in Opelika when she and her husband got ready to start a family. Patton said he approached Kovak with the business model for Cottonseed Studios and convinced her to join forces with him.
“The Alabama tax incentives for filmmakers helped keep her here,” Patton said.
Then, when the COVID came along, ITput a major ding in the business and its current plans for films and concerts. It was a brutal time for live music and events.
But, as the world has reopened for business, so did Cottonseed Studios.
“We’re getting revitalized now,” Patton said. He said he is thrilled to announce upcoming Cottonseed Studios concerts featuring a couple of high caliber talents.
The shows will take place at The Railyard located at 706 N. Railroad Ave. in downtown Opelika.
“If you’re facing John Emerald Distillery, The Railyard is the outdoor space to the left,” he said. “This is an all-ages event, so everybody can come to the show. It’s very family friendly. It will be fun for anybody to come to; that’s the main thing — all are welcome.”
Chris Renzema brings his Manna Tour 2024 to The Railyard on Wednesday, April 10.
Renzema has recorded four solo albums and is currently touring in support of his recent release, “Manna.” His accolades include a GMA Dove Award nomination for New Artist of the Year and playing Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Pandora Radio named Chris an “Artist to Watch” and since 2019 when he began touring regularly, his fan base has indeed watched as he has established himself as an artist on the rise. Gates open at 7 p.m. with opening act Citizens going on at 8 p.m. Headliner Chris Renzema will take the stage at 9 p.m. Tickets are available through
The Brook & The Bluff, a five-man group blending indie rock and folk rock, bring its Bluebeard Tour 2024 to The Railyard April 25 & 26, for a two night stand. The band is currently touring in support of its new album “Bluebeard.” The group will be joined by opening act Hotel Fiction. Gates open at 7 p.m. with Hotel Fiction kicking off the evening at 8 p.m. followed by The Brook & The Bluff at 9 p.m. Breweries and distilleries are “manufacturers,” so age restrictions do not apply. Reserve your tickets at
Patton said he is excited to present these two national acts locally at The Railyard and hopes the public takes advantage of the opportunity to see live music in historic downtown Opelika.
“I just want to encourage everybody to come to these live music shows so we can continue to have the same music that any major city in the country has.”
For more information about upcoming shows follow Cottonseed Studios on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or visit For more information about the upcoming performers visit their websites,, and