Seeking a way to translate my visionary skill set into a career, I purchased the only abandoned store in my abandoned home town. When I was a child, the little farming community in northeast Alabama had two stores, a service station, a restaurant, a post office, and a school. All of which had been closed for at least ten years, making it quite a challenge to revive commerce for the community and tourists visiting the area.
I, being the only business owner in the area and standing to be affected by the local state parks’ closure, attended a public town hall meeting with the governor of the state. Full of passion and pride, I stood up in the room full of over 400 attendees including politicians and reporters, and plead my case for the park to remain open. After the meeting, the governor pulled me over to discuss the matter further. The parks remained open for a while but eventually the campground was closed.
Buck’s Pocket State Park received a federal grant to upgrade the campground facilities and build an OHV trail. These park improvements are set to occur in 2016. When they are completed, Buck’s Pocket State Park will reopen the campground and have the only OHV trail in North Alabama. We, in Grove Oak, are looking forward to having our beloved park open and fully accessible again.
I purchased the long closed store, led the total renovation, and opened for business July 2015. Things are running smoothly and as the profit margin grows I will be able to increase services provided, leading both the business and the town’s trajectory into more successes for the future.
For my leadership and commitment to community in DeKalb County, AL, the local newspaper, The Times Journal selected me as a part of DeKalb’s Top 40 in 2016.
Two miles from my country store sits our only county park, High Falls. Check it out at http://www.seehighfalls.com. I was appointed onto the High Falls board in the spring of 2016, making me the first woman to ever hold that position.
Jamie Godwin Brooks