Business alliance focuses on thinking Pelham first
Published 11:41 am Friday, September 4, 2015
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
PELHAM— Driving through Pelham on U.S. 31, it can be easy to miss the many businesses located on either side of the highway. Solving that disconnect between businesses and the community in Pelham is the focus of the Pelham Business Alliance.
Only officially three months old, the alliance’s main gain is to improve the economic growth and success of Pelham, according to the group’s chair Kai Smith. Smith owns Kai’s Koffee House at 2953 Pelham Parkway and serves as a principal agent with KTL Smith Group, Inc. right next door.
“We want to bring new businesses here, so we have to improve that economy here,” Smith said. “We have to figure a way to bridge the communication between the community and the businesses in order to help supplement the city’s progress.”
When new businesses open in Pelham, Smith said the other businesses aren’t aware of it so they can’t support them. She said many of the businesses in the city have expressed they are struggling to keep their doors open.
“In my mind, I believe that is only because (residents) don’t know that you are here,” Smith said. “Unless you’ve been here for years and years, they just don’t know. Our main focus is really trying to get the community to know that we are here.”
There are about 20 businesses involved in the Pelham Business Alliance, currently, and they meet the fourth Thursday of each month at 8:30 a.m. at Kai’s Koffee House. The organization is co-chaired by Debbie Parrot of IberiaBank.
Smith said they usually talk about trends in the city, new businesses that are opening and what areas they can grow their businesses. They are also working on a database, which will be available to all members and will include all the businesses in Pelham. Smith said it will allow the owners to support each other.
The alliance is developing a Think Pelham campaign to coincide with National Shop Local Week in the spring. All the businesses participating will be signified with a white and green ribbon on their door and will offer special sales and promotions to customers.
“We want people to think local first. Think Pelham,” Smith said. “Pelham has a lot to offer in retail and to offer in services. Many times our community is so programed to go to Hoover and programed to go to Alabaster, that we don’t realize we’re hurting ourselves. We’re not spending our own dollars in our own city.”
For more information, email Kai Smith at email@example.com.