Business as Usual: College-friendly businesses locate on Mountain Street
by staff reports
Oct 10, 2011 | 5791 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A house waits to be moved on Mountain Street in Jacksonville. Jacksonville State University’s new dormitories, which have helped attract new businesses to Mountain Street, can be seen in the background. (Anniston Star photo by Bill Wilson)
A house waits to be moved on Mountain Street in Jacksonville. Jacksonville State University’s new dormitories, which have helped attract new businesses to Mountain Street, can be seen in the background. (Anniston Star photo by Bill Wilson)
JACKSONVILLE — West Mountain Street in Jacksonville, once lined with stately homes, soon will be home to one more eatery.

Momma Goldberg’s Deli, a staple for students in Auburn and known for its signature sandwich called “momma’s love,” will build its newest location within walking distance of Jacksonville State’s football stadium and newest dormitory. The deli is also known to patrons for other college food specialties such as its nachos, a pile of Doritos with jalapenos and spicy cheese melted atop them.

“We are kind of targeting college towns because we fit the student and faculty student needs,” said Don DeMent, who started the franchise with one store in 1976.

DeMent said the Jacksonville restaurant’s building will replicate the original restaurant, which looks more like a siding-shingled home than a restaurant. It will be built next to one of the last historic homes that remain on Mountain Street.

“When I came to school here in the 1960s, it was a beautiful street,” Mayor Johnny Smith said.

Today the street is home to a number of businesses, of which Mama Goldberg’s will be just the latest. At the street’s intersection with Pelham Road, a Grub Mart convenience store, a Waffle House and a Japanese steakhouse welcome customers. The Jacksonville Bookstore recently left its longtime home on the central public square to be closer to its customers in an existing commercial space on West Mountain.

“I think this is just an indication of what it is today,” Smith said. “It fits into what is here now.”

A walk along the street’s uneven sidewalk at noon reveals college students darting in and out of small apartment complexes and JSU’s newest dorms. Also in view are the two remaining historic homes on the street’s eastern end — one under renovation and one being prepared for a move across the street — both owned by Jerrod Brown.

Brown took on the first house as a restoration project and bought the second, known as the Forney House, from the university to save it from an uncertain fate. He said he has “mixed emotions” about living next to a college deli.

“It’s always disappointing to see change like that, especially when it changes something that’s historically significant,” he said.

But, like Smith, Brown said that change has already come and transformed the old street from what it once was.

Another West Mountain Street resident, Elise Carroll, said she is glad there will be another dining option but doesn’t welcome any added traffic.

Carroll, a junior at JSU, rents a small white house with three roommates. The street out front is busy nearly every afternoon, from noon to rush hour, when steady traffic flows past the 25 mph signs, Carroll said. She said she’d rather the restaurant be built on Pelham Road, which is a block or so from her home.

The store’s owners likely feel differently. Smith said the location would be great for the business, being within walking distance of hundreds of students.

“I really think it’s a good setting for them,” the mayor said. “I was delighted to see them get that here.”

Jacksonville isn’t the only college town that will get a Momma Goldberg’s Deli. The franchisee has plans to move into Atlanta and Athens in Georgia, Oxford, Miss., and Tallahassee, Fla., in the coming months, according to DeMent.

College towns aren’t the only areas where the chain is located. It first expanded in the Birmingham market, and since the franchise began in 2007, it’s already grown to include 19 locations.

“I’m not overwhelmed (by the success) because we have such a good product,” DeMent said. “We’re adding them like crazy.”

— Laura Johnson

New credit union site nearly under way in Jacksonville

Jacksonville is about to get a new credit union. Well, in about six months, anyway.

Last week, The Star got an invitation to a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 21 for a new branch of AOD Credit Union. The reception after the groundbreaking is at JD&L Drive, near the Hampton Inn.

In the past, AOD officials have predicted that construction on a new branch would take about six months. If that holds true, the Jacksonville branch could open around April or May.

The Jacksonville branch would be the sixth for the growing AOD, which has doubled its membership to 30,000 members in the past five years. AOD leaders have suggested they might build a seventh branch in Alexandria.

Staff members at the credit union were reluctant to talk about the new branch Friday. Apparently there’s a press release planned for this week and AOD didn’t want to scoop itself.

For a relationships site,

it’s complicated

As a licensed therapist, Oxford resident Richard Yates has been dishing out advice on relationships for years.

Now he’s trying to broaden his audience — and maybe monetize his wisdom — by setting up a relationship-advice website. Called, the site is supposed to be open for business in December.

The Star found out about the new venture this week, when the Calhoun County Probate Judge’s Office listed as a dissolved business.

As it turns out, Yates’ old business partnership, well, broke up. But he found a new set of business partners and is moving on.

Yates said his business model is simple. He’ll attract people to his site with sound, grown-up advice on relationships and will turn a profit by selling DVDs with even more good stuff.

“People are tired of relationship sites with some guy who acts like Hugh Hefner,” he said. “They want to hear from someone who’s a little more mature.”

Free advice, apparently, is worth what you pay for it.

— Tim Lockette

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