2 years ago

Growth companies power the Made in Alabama 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Companies across Alabama are creating jobs, making investments and helping shoppers check off their Christmas lists. This year’s edition of the Made In Alabama Holiday Gift Guide features businesses that are growing in the state, with recent projects and expansions in communities large and small.

From big-ticket items like a new car or boat to smaller fun and thoughtful presents, the products from Alabama’s manufacturers and entrepreneurs show off the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the state’s workforce.

Reclaimed wood furniture

Cashel Beams & Flooring of Brewton makes a variety of reclaimed wood products, including custom furniture.

The company, which specializes mainly in heart pine and oak, has various tables, desks, chests, bar tops and more. Its recent portfolio even includes a ping pong table.

Last year, Cashel announced a $1 million, 15-job expansion in Escambia County. It also offers solid plant and engineered flooring, wall paneling, stair parts, beams, mantels and special cut timbers.

The company calls reclaimed wood one of the most distinctive design choices available, since natural characteristics such as nail holes, insect marking, weather checking and knot structure provide a design that cannot be copied.

Grocery shopping service

Give the gift of time and convenience with a membership to Birmingham-based Shipt. The online grocery marketplace delivers fresh food and other items via an app and a community of personal shoppers.

Shipt made headlines last summer when it announced plans to create nearly 900 new jobs in Birmingham over the next few years. The firm, founded in 2014, is in the midst of a rapid rollout of its services across the U.S.

Shipt’s gift membership options include a yearlong subscription for $99 and a six-month subscription for $49. Shipt members who buy a 12-month gift membership by Dec. 25 get a $50 credit.

Pecan treats

For an authentic taste of Alabama, Troy’s Whaley Pecan Co. has you covered. The pecan shelling and processing facility sells a wide variety of treats, including the Sweet Home Alabama Basket that’s filled with chocolate-covered pecans, pecan brittle, mini pecan pies and more for $39.95.

Two years ago, Whaley added new jobs and announced a $280,000 investment in its Pike County operations. Founded in 1937, the company is in its third generation of family ownership.

Besides the Alabama basket, holiday goodies include Pecan Pie in a Jar, the Roasted and Salted Gift Bag Trio and Pecan Oil.

Craft beer

For the beer lover in your life, check out the offerings from Gadsden’s Back Forty Beer Co. The makers of Naked Pig, Freckle Belly, Truck Stop Honey and more, the brewery has been busy adding jobs and investments this year.

In July, Back Forty opened a new microbrewery in Birmingham. Sloss Docks Back Forty, near historic Sloss Furnaces, features a beer garden and American pub foods primarily sourced from local growers.

Several of Back Forty’s core beers are brewed on site, along with a steady rotation of experimental beers.

Back Forty has also been included in trade missions led by the Alabama Department of Commerce with the goal of stimulating overseas sales.

Boats and wheels

If you’re really feeling generous this Christmas, consider gifting your loved one with a key symbol of Alabama’s manufacturing success.

Glasstream Powerboats’ 240 CCX is produced at the company’s operating plant in Dothan, which opened in 2015.

The 240 CCX is a forward-seating center console model that is ready for the open water but also saves money at the fuel pump, thanks to Glasstream’s patented fuel-efficient hull design. It also features LED lighting, forward lounge seating with removable backrests and fish/storage box, and rod and cup holders.

Standard MSRP prices range from $52,000 to $55,000.

Glasstream has two operating plants, in Dothan and in Panama City, Florida, and everything was recently relocated to Dothan following Hurricane Michael. In addition, the company is adding 25,000 square feet to the Dothan plant to keep up with sales demand.

Elsewhere, the state’s auto industry continues to expand in communities across the state, driven by new and updated products rolling out of the vehicle assembly plants operated by Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai.

All three plants have made additions to their Alabama product lineups this year. Just this month, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama showed off the 2019 Honda Passport SUV, an all-new model.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz has announced pricing for its next-generation GLE SUV, the flagship product of its Tuscaloosa County factory. The 2020 model starts at $53,700.

Neither of those particular vehicles will be available until next year, but one new addition to Alabama’s auto assembly lines is already in dealer showrooms.

The redesigned 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, which the automaker’s Montgomery plant began producing last summer, starts at $25,500.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

9 hours ago

Alabama Power sends hundreds of linemen, support personnel to assist after Tropical Storm Isaias hammered East Coast

Tropical Storm Isaias hit the eastern coast of the United States hard this week, leaving millions of Americans without power while producing high winds, heavy rain and tornadoes.

In the wake of the storm’s wrath, Alabama Power Company on Wednesday morning sent 133 lineworkers and 94 support personnel to New Jersey to assist utility FirstEnergy in its storm response.

A release from the company outlined that Alabama Power upon arrival will support FirstEnergy subsidiary Jersey Central Power and Light, which serves 1.1 million customers in the central and northern parts of the Garden State.

In addition to directly supporting FirstEnergy, Alabama Power advised that it released more than 325 contract lineworkers to assist in storm restoration at various other utilities along the East Coast.


“Our crews are prepped and ready to offer assistance in the restoration efforts following Tropical Storm Isaias,” stated Kristie Barton, Alabama Power Company’s power delivery services general manager.

“As soon as it is safe to do so, which includes observing all of our COVID-19 safe practices protocol, we’ll be working to restore power as quickly as possible,” she continued.

The company’s help was reportedly coordinated through the mutual assistance program of the Southeastern Electric Exchange, a trade association comprised of several member utilities.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

9 hours ago

Ivey named to leadership of National Governors Association

The National Governors Association (NGA) on Wednesday announced its new executive committee for 2020-2021, with Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) becoming chair of the association that represents the 55 leaders of all American states and territories.

Members of the executive committee were elected during the NGA summer meeting, which was held in a virtual format this year.

Governor Kay Ivey (R-AL) was one of the governors elected to the nine-member executive committee.


“I’m honored to have been elected to serve on the [NGA] Executive Committee for 2020-21,” Ivey said in a Wednesday tweet. “I look forward to working with my fellow governors to develop initiatives & policies to support our country now & in the future.”

The NGA recently highlighted Alabama’s workforce development efforts under the Ivey administration as a model for other states to emulate.

Ivey assumed the governor’s office on April 10, 2017. In November 2018, she was elected to her first full term as Alabama’s chief executive. That term will expire in January 2023. Ivey could seek reelection in 2022.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

10 hours ago

Mo Brooks: Democrats are banking on creating more moochers in 2020

The latest stimulus bill in Congress is tied up for many reasons, but a major sticking point appears to be the continuation of a $600 a week unemployment booster on top of what states already pay in benefits.

With the current impasse, there is currently no bonus to be given to those who are unemployed.

This is creating a battle between those who want to keep the bonus payment going for the foreseeable future and those who believe that the high payment is keeping people from vigorously re-entering the job market.

The stalemate in Washington, D.C. will eventually break. Some form of sweetener will be included, and the battle for stimulus will move on to the next bill.

U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) views this battle as part of the larger ideological battle in the United States.


Brooks appeared on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” on Wednesday and referred to the Democratic Party as “the moocher party.” He said he believes this disconnect all started in the 1960s when Democrats embraced the idea of the “Great Society.”

Brooks opined, “Democrats have discovered that’s a huge voting block that they get in elections, so one way to win an election is to turn more independent, self-reliant voters into moochers.”

The congressman from Huntsville believes this is nothing new and noted how political it all is.

“Democrats perceive that that’s going to help them tremendously in the 2020 elections just a few months from now,” he advised.

My takeaway:

Brooks, of course, is right.

The argument from the media and their Democrats is always going to be some version of: “We want to give you [this] and they don’t because they want you to die.”

Free healthcare, free childcare, free college education, and it never stops.

Stopping any of this is the equivalent of kicking a baby in the face and taking its food.

Democrats have bought into this idea for years, and in the time of rampant unemployment and a pandemic, they will kick their grievance politics into full gear to gain new power.

The House, Senate and presidency are at risk this year. Republicans can give in and extend the $600 unemployment benefit (they will), and Democrats will just move to the next free item.

In 2020, this strategy might work.


Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN.

12 hours ago

Dollar General opens 450,000 square foot distribution center in Montgomery

Budget shopping chain Dollar General on Wednesday announced the opening of its large, new cold storage distribution center in Montgomery.

The 450,000 square foot facility is the product of a $26 million investment for the company and will support around 65 new jobs in the River Region.

The Montgomery facility is cold storage, meaning it is designed to store goods that must be kept chilled like milk and deli products.

“Welcome to Montgomery Dollar General, thank you for investing in our state and in our people,” said Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday during a digital event celebrating the facility being opened.


“We are incredibly grateful for the tremendous support from both state and local officials who helped make this project happen,” remarked Rod West, Dollar General’s vice president of perishables growth and development.

The low-cost retailer opened its first store in Alabama in 1965 and now has around 800 retail locations in the Yellowhammer State.

“Dollar General is a trusted company with a long history in Alabama,” said Elton Dean, Montgomery County Commission chairman, in a statement on Monday.

“The River Region has a lot to offer, and we are thrilled that this esteemed organization, that does business across the country, recognizes that,” Dean added.

Dollar General also has a traditional distribution center in Bessemer and claims to employ approximately 8,100 Alabamians in total.

Montgomery’s new distribution center is located on Mobile Highway, around 15 minutes southwest of downtown.

“We welcome Dollar General and look forward to years of partnership and progress to come,” commented Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed on Wednesday,

The company says it will support around 1,500 stores in surrounding areas and help spur the “DG Fresh” initiative “which is a strategic multi-phased shift to self-distribution of frozen and refrigerated goods such as dairy, deli and frozen products” according to a release.

“We are confident that Dollar General recognized our strong workforce and business-friendly environment when choosing a location for this facility. We are excited to welcome Dollar General and countless companies to come, to grow in Montgomery,” concluded Arthur DuCote, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce chairman.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

12 hours ago

Alabama Forestry Association endorses Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate

The Alabama Forestry Association (AFA) on Wednesday announced its endorsement of Republican nominee Tommy Tuberville in the Yellowhammer State’s 2020 U.S. Senate race.

Tuberville, after defeating former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in last month’s GOP primary runoff, is set to face U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November’s general election. The AFA had endorsed Sessions in the runoff contest.

In a statement, AFA executive vice president Chris Isaacson said, “We are proud to endorse Tommy Tuberville in the United States Senate race. He is a conservative with an impressive list of accomplishments, and we know that he will continue that record in his role as U.S. Senator.”


“Tommy knows that decisions made in Washington impact families and businesses and will be an effective voice for the people of Alabama,” he concluded.

This comes as another major endorsement for Tuberville from the agribusiness community. The Alabama Farmers Federation endorsed the former Auburn University football coach last year and has been credited as being integral along his path to securing the Republican nomination.

“I am honored to have the endorsement of the Alabama Forestry Association. The AFA is an excellent organization that stands for pro-business policies. Protecting Alabama industry is a key to our state’s success,” Tuberville stated.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn