Local businesses forced to move

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By Hannah Lester
hlester@opelikaobserver.com

The strip mall on Columbus Parkway that houses businesses such as Angel’s Antique Mall, Cotton Valley Trader, the event center and GG’s Beauty Supply has been sold.

The previous owners sold the property to new owners, who plan to turn the real estate into a storage facility.

All the businesses except Angel’s Antique Mall will be forced to close or move.

Rumors started swirling late in 2019 that the property may be sold, said Craig McCullough, the owner of The Village Thrift Market and Cotton Valley Trader.

“It wasn’t a fixed thing, it was just talk and obviously until money is put down on something like that they weren’t even interested in kind of pursuing it,” McCullough said.

The buyers did in fact buy the property, but not all of the business owners were aware that this meant they would need to get out.

Jessica and Ira Hotsetter, who co-own the Village Event Center, said they didn’t know the property would become a storage unit.

“It’s never been a surprise that the building may change ownership,” Jessica said. “We did not realize that it would be changed into something that wouldn’t allow us to stay here.”

The Village Event Center is home to dozens of events throughout the year, including the Kid’s Clothes Connection, The East Alabama Gun and Hunting Show, The Christmas Village and more.

There is not another venue available right now for the Event Center to move to.

“Another reason we don’t want to see this go away is because we have multiple charities that come in,” Jessica said.

McCullough said he finds it hard to fault the previous owners for selling. They had owned the property for years and were tired of the maintenance required.

“In July of this year, they kind of really doubled down and said we’re going to put a big down payment on this and we’re going to sign a contract,” he said.

Of course, despite understanding, McCullough said it is still a shame that Opelika will lose all the small businesses currently located there.

“I don’t know how the city of Opelika feels about this. It may be a drop in the bucket,” he said. “But just from my calculations across the businesses that are in this shopping center, there is well over $100,000 to probably $150,000 a year worth of sales tax revenue generated by these businesses. And so suddenly these businesses will no longer be within Opelika city limits meaning that Opelika City does not get that sales tax revenue.”

McCullough is looking for other property for the two businesses, but it might not be in Opelika, he said.

“I recently purchased a piece of property in Valley where we have another thrift store,” he said. “… So I’m intending to move Cotton Valley Trader over to that place.”

Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a spot for Village Thrift Market right now, so it will just have to close.

“Come October 31, which is right around the corner, Cotton Valley Trader and the Village Thrift Market will no longer be here,” he said.

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