1st Ave. in Downtown Opelika Transforming into a Destination for Locals & Visitors

If you’ve been driving in downtown Opelika lately, you might see a lot of construction on the other side of the railroad tracks.

That’s because a complete transformation is going on adding in more local businesses on 1st Ave.

“Right now the businesses have to survive a war zone and if we can survive that they will thrive, but it’s exciting to see,” said Richard Patton, Developer/ Property Owner.

Patton bought this block back in the early 2000s and since then, he’s wanted to bring in local people who had a vision and dream to open up their own unique shop here in Opelika.

“We had a lot of people interested in these spaces, but we wanted to find the right fit and a fit where everyone married together and that’s where we are now,” said Patton.

Mama Mocha’s was one of the first trailblazers to open on 1st Ave. with a roasting space in the back and a bodega in the front.

“This intercity concept of a walk up shop. It’s not a cute, southern cozy place. It’s more of getting something really quick and going. That’s how Opelika was born,” said Sarah Barnett Gill, Owner of Mama Mocha’s.

Then Matt Poirier who already owns The Hound and The Depot in Auburn has been eying this spot for years, but finally made the plunge to open up a cocktail lounge called Sneak & Dawdle.

“We feel like this side of the street is going to boom. With 3-4 business opening up within 6 months of each other, it’s a critical mass and I’m excited about it,” said Poirier.

A destination street not only for the community, but also for visitors. And though they say it may look rough now, everyone whose already opening up sees the vision.

“No corporate craziness, it’s all local family people here and that’s rare. We are blessed to have this on the block and I’m excited to give people soup, coffee and biscuits while it’s happening,” said Barnett Gill.

“I feel like Opelika is near a tipping point as far as where we’re going. We’re going to be glad we got in when we did. In 3-4 years we are going to look back and be like wow. It’s going to have it’s own unique really cool scene,” said Poirier.


Categories: Alabama News