Jul. 2—For the first time in the company's 62-year history, R.E. Garrison Trucking is located inside the city limits. On Friday, the company cut the ribbon on its new, second-floor office space in the Warehouse District.
Executive Director of Operations Shawn Nelson said the move to the downtown office space was important to the company, which prides itself on being part of the community. "It's about the culture this provides and being part of the community," he said. "It also helps us with recruiting." Employees, he said, like the atmosphere of the downtown and being able to walk to shops and restaurants.
Laura and Shane Quick did the renovations of the two spaces, which house about 100 employees in total. The renovations took about eight months and involved opening up what were 6-8 separate businesses into open space. The larger of the two spaces is 10,000 square feet, he said, with the smaller office occupying about 2,500 square feet.
Quick said the influx of office workers is a boon to downtown businesses. "A majority priority that we have at Vibe Developments and the city of Cullman, and many other developers in Cullman, is to get businesses working downtown," he said. "When you do that, people are working downtown, they tend to shop downtown, they tend to eat downtown and a lot of times end up moving downtown. We have a beautiful downtown in the city of Cullman and over 100 years of people protecting the buildings. We were lucky that we had people preserve our buildings. They didn't tear them down in the 70s and 80s."
The floors and rafters in the new office space are original to the building, built in 1900, he said.
Mayor Woody Jacobs said the R.E. Garrison Trucking office appeals to younger generation workers. "They like this kind of work environment," he said. "They like being in the hub of things."
Quick said he encourages other businesses to look to downtown as well. "We're committed to helping industry bring their offices downtown," he said. "It's got atmosphere and the ability for people to walk to places that matter. We've got a great downtown."