Business Moves with Mary: Refrigeration Company 'back to normal' after fire, tornado

April 25, 2019 10:19:36 AM

Mary Pollitz - [email protected]

 

At 2 a.m. Nov. 4, Dennis Jones received a call from the alarm company that protects his business. A window at Refrigeration Supply Company on Tuscaloosa Road was broken, the call reported, and Jones dutifully went to check on it.

 

Turns out, there was a lot more to it than that.

 

"The window was broken because there was a car inside the building on top of the counter," said Brooks Jones, store manager and son to Dennis.

 

 

A drunk driver had crashed the car into the building. Then the car caught fire, with flames destroying all the inventory inside.

 

Dennis reopened at a temporary office on Conway Drive the next day, with the Joneses thinking surely the company had seen all the disaster-driven misfortune it would endure, at least in the short-term.

 

They were wrong.

 

A few months later, the company started its move to its new permanent location at 1600 Gardner Blvd. The day the Joneses moved inventory from its warehouse, also on Conway Drive, an EF-3 tornado ripped through East Columbus, leveling the warehouse and damaging the temporary office building on Conway and its current building on Gardner.

 

"With everything that happened, we were just glad the (Gardner) building was still standing," Brooks said.

 

Repairing the tornado damage delayed the grand opening for the company's third location in six months -- which has enough room for an office and warehouse -- but Brooks said it is back to being fully operational and "back to normal." It is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

 

"It was just stressful for everyone, especially my dad," Brooks said. "It's a relief that it's finally starting to settle. ... I want to make sure that (our customers) know we couldn't have done it without them."

 

When asked if the storm damage was the company's last brush with bad luck, Brooks crossed his fingers and laughed.

 

"I believe it is," he said. "It's got to be."

 

Brooks' sister, Brittany Coover, lost her pet grooming business, which was located inside the company's warehouse, during the February tornado.

 

Coover reopened BJ's Dog Groomer at 81 Wilcutt Block Road. BJ's is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m., including pet drop off and pick up Saturday and Sundays at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

 

Elsewhere in Columbus, Ceco Building Systems has moved to its new location at 1211 Highway 45 N.

 

Ceco has operated in town since 1947. The business, which constructs material for pre-fabricated buildings, is hosting its grand opening for the public May 21 at 11 a.m. Ceco is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

 

"(We want) to show the community we are there, in Columbus and not going anywhere," Ceco senior marketing analyst Danielle Smith said.

 

You may see some changes on College Street as Cable ONE begins its shift to its new brand: Sparklight. Patricia Niemann, Cable ONE public relations manager, said the company's changes will happen in phases.

 

By May, customers can see new websites and social media pages for the cable and internet company. In July, those customers' bills will start coming from Sparklight. Employees and businesses will also start showcasing the new company's name and logo during that time.

 

Niemann added the largest change, other than the name, will be faster and more affordable internet speeds.

 

The cable company started its presence in Columbus in 1954, under Columbus TV Cable. Cable ONE took over the company in 1996. It services more than 12,000 customers in Lowndes and Monroe counties.

 

If you're driving down 18th Avenue, you may see the Cook Out is getting close to completion.

 

The building is nearly finished, the sign has been poised and construction workers are paving the parking lot. Cook Out corporate did not have an official opening date.

 

This is the fast food restaurant's second Golden Triangle location after opening in Starkville nearly two years ago.

 

Speaking of Starkville, a new shop has moved in downtown.

 

Ashley Shields has moved her boutique, Southern Spice, to 113-B Lafayette St. Shields first opened Southern Spice from her home last year but wanted to open her boutique closer to town in hopes of expanding. The shop sells plus size clothes, misses and juniors.

 

"I just try to keep the latest fashion," Shields said. "I love fashion myself so that's what inspired my want to share what I love with other people."

 

Find the latest trends Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

 

Got business tips? Email them to [email protected]