By Kevin Hogencamp
Home Depot officials in Albany say that when they heard recently that the 100 block of North Washington Street was coming alive, symbolizing new hope in downtown Albany, they couldn’t imagine not being a part of it.
B.J. Fletcher said she wasn’t surprised when she got the call that Home Depot wanted to donate material and store employees wanted to volunteer their time to spruce up a portion of downtown.
“That’s the way that company is. They are always part of the communities they are in. That’s what they do,” Fletcher said.
On Tuesday, a handful of Home Depot employees arrived at The Fresh Market, which will open next month, to paint and do some woodwork.
Fletcher estimates that the store and its employees are donating $5,500 in material and labor.
“It’s an investment, an unselfish investment,” said Fletcher, an Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority member. “They’ve always been great about targeting local businesses and working with communities. They wanted to be a part of downtown; they wanted to be a part of the great things happening down here.”
Fletcher is a partner in Downtown Fresh Market and the operator of The General Store next door, which will open Thursday – two days before Albany’s Mardi Gras celebration. Fletcher’s restaurateur partner at Café 230 on West Broad Street, Sarah Edmonds, is co-operator of Verge, an upscale consignment store that also will open Thursday.
Catina Dawson, the Home Depot pro sales associate who helped coordinate the downtown project, said her store manager, Rian Morris, wasn’t going to let the opportunity to be a part of downtown’s revival pass by.
“This company tries to give back to the community throughout the year, but we really want to be a part of downtown. We want to show the people of Albany that they have our support,” she said.
Other local Home Depot community service projects include volunteering with this weekend’s Albany Marathon and assisting Girls Inc. and the Boy Scouts.
“This is a great community and we find volunteering to be very rewarding,” Dawson said.
Five more business have committed to opening in the coming months in downtown Albany, while at least four more businesses are likely to open soon, said Downtown Manager Aaron Blair.
The five businesses are: Aikido School of Southwest GA, 105 S. Jackson St.; Goodlife Fast Tax Service, 311 W. Broad Ave.; Ethnic Shyme Hair Salon, 305 W. Broad Ave.; Jackson Signing & Consulting, 334 W. Broad Ave; and GABE Alteration, Repair, & Bridal Xchange, 238 W. Broad Ave.
Blair’s wife, Jessica Blair, is a partner in Verge.