Montevallo Makers brings new life to Middle Street

Published 2:42 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2020

By COURTNEY BENNETT / Community Columnist

Montevallo is well-known for its art scene, especially annual events like Arts Fest, Art Walk and Tinglewood Festival.

At Montevallo Makers, shoppers can buy local arts and crafts year-round.

At first, Montevallo artist Casie Tate wanted to open a business downtown because she needed more space to create.

“My whole reason in the beginning was I ran out of room at home,” she said. “I didn’t even have in mind what the business was going to be completely. I just knew I wanted a space downtown.”

Casie and her husband, Lee, bought and painstakingly renovated 720-730 Middle Street, which had fallen into disrepair.

“I felt like that building was going to crumble if someone didn’t do something,” she said.

She credits her stubbornness for completing the two-year renovation she initially thought would take six months.

Casie’s building now houses two thriving businesses—Montevallo Makers, a combination retail and maker space open to local artists—and the Art Studio, where owner Alison Baggett offers classes and private parties for all ages.

“I’ve been so tickled the last month and a half over the response I’ve gotten! Every week there are new people coming in—new artists, new customers.”

With assistance from a Façade Grant offered by Montevallo Main Street last autumn, a 50/50 match funded by private donations and overseen by Main Street Board member Pam Phagan, Casie transformed her storefront with dazzling colors of turquoise and pumpkin, repainted her awnings and painted a side wall that will soon feature a mural.

“It’s like a completely new building. We worked on the inside for a year and a half, and the whole time I was just waiting to do the façade,” she said.

Casie tags her social media posts with “#MiddleistheNewMain” as she brags about how vibrant Middle Street has become in the last couple of years.

Montevallo Makers, the Art Studio, JP Building Company and the Dive Bar opened on Middle Street in 2019, joining other long-standing businesses such as University Investments, Sweet Ink Tattoo, Best Cleaners and University Food Mart.

“I just love being the ‘Middle Street Mom,’” she said. “It’s the most creative little street in town. Everybody there is involved in something creative, whether it’s building a house, doing a tattoo, doing hair, and of course the Art Studio.”

Visit Casie and Cotton Eyed Joe at 730 Middle Street from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.