(DAPHNE, Ala.) November 12 - Opening day is Wednesday for the Fresh Market and this opening may mark a true comeback and turn around for the Jubilee Square shopping center.
Monday workers put finishing touches outside and inside the Fresh Market store. Developers and city officials say the strategy has been to get big box stores to come here and to consolidate the smaller store fronts to make room for the bigger stores. Jubilee Square now boasts a 97% occupancy.
Opening day for the Fresh Market is just around the corner and manager Tammy Colinger says she's feeling the excitement all around town. "Any place that I go like I can go to a gas station and I'll tell them who I am and they'll say 'oh I can't wait. We are so exited to have a fresh market.' So Daphne has been so welcoming for us, " said Colinger. City officials, like new City Councilmember Dane Haygood who is also a real estate developer, say Jubilee Square is making a much needed turn around. "They are going to hire upwards of 80 employees for this store so its great to offer services to our residents and it's also great to have a new employer in our city, " said Haygood.
Unlike competing shopping centers in Spanish Fort, Jubilee Square is a public - private venture and the City of Daphne has a vested interest as bond money used for the initial infrastructure is still being payed off. Local small business owner Stephanie Daniels owns the Brown Eyed Girl Boutique. She's been here for seven years. There was a time she says when she was surrounded by empty store fronts. "Much better. We feel like there's growth and we don't feel there's as many empty spaces. All the new stores are bringing people out and hopefully the Christmas season will be great and better then last year, " said Daniels.
Office Depot will open soon here moving from across the street. Sears has also opened an appliance and hardware store in the shopping center as well .