By William C. Singleton III
The Vestavia Hills City Council recently approved two economic incentive deals that paved the way for a new business and will allow an existing one to expand.
The council agreed to extend incentive deals to Issis and Sons Furniture Gallery, which in December opened a new store in Vestavia Hills, and Royal Automotive Inc., which is expanding its Vestavia Hills dealership.
According to the agreement, the city will rebate sales taxes to Issis and Sons Furniture Gallery Inc. up to $750,000 over five years. Issis and Sons Furniture has remodeled the former Greenbrier Furniture store at 1493 Montgomery Highway to house its new business.
“We hope to do very well there,” said Steve Issis, owner. “We added on to the back, which used to be a warehouse. Hopefully, we’ll get the people of Vestavia to support us.”
Issis said the business plans to sponsor a grand opening event for the community Feb. 6 from 4:30-8:30 p.m.
Issis also owns stores on Pelham Parkway, Greystone Boulevard and Cahaba Valley Road.
The city also will rebate sales taxes up to $900,000 over five years to Royal Automotive.
David Belcher, a representative of Royal Automotive at 3010 Columbiana Road, said the dealership in December purchased Buick Motor Division from a North Carolina company and has moved its vehicles to the Vestavia dealership.
“It’s pretty tight. We’ve got a lot of cars,” Belcher said. “It was a large investment. And we have more (vehicles) coming.”
Belcher said the dealership will have to display GMC and Buick models more prominently which means “we’re going to have to move some buildings around.”
City Manager Jeff Downes said the dealership adding a new vehicle line could mean $10 million more a year in gross sales.
“The impact to us in sales tax dollars could be in the neighborhood of $200,000 a year when you take into consideration new car sales and maintenance of existing Buicks people seek maintenance for,” he said. “We have offered incentives over a period of time based on a sharing of success and growth of business.”
Of Issis’ move to Vestavia, Downes said, “We’re excited to see them open up in an empty storefront and continue the sale of furniture within our city.”
The council was able to offer the incentives based on a policy it adopted this past summer that grants special economic development incentives to potential and existing businesses looking to locate or expand within the city limits. The businesses have to meet certain criteria which includes investing a certain amount of money into their facility.
“It’s all designed to encourage businesses to open up and operate in Vestavia Hills,” Downes said.