By John Brice
Announcements have spread throughout social media regarding plans to open a new event space named The Venue on Alabama Avenue East in downtown LaFayette. Steve White, owner of the Hometown Mercantile on the Square retail shop located next door to the future event space, announced in an August 10th facebook post “LaFayette here we grow again coming soon The Venue on Alabama Avenue E. Perfect for intimate weddings, receptions corporate events, or any functions you may have! Reservations begin soon!”. In a follow up post the next day, White stated “The news is out and the Venue on Alabama Ave East coming soon a place where memories will be made! Start watching our progress and let the count down begin! Look for our Facebook and Instagram accounts soon! #CHAMBERSCOUNTY #lovelafayette #valleyal #opelikaalabama #leecounty #auburnalabama #lanettal”
LaFayette Main Street shared that same enthusiasm in an August 14th facebook post remarking “We are excited about The Venue on Alabama Ave. E opening in LaFayette!! It will be available for weddings, receptions, corporate events, parties, proms, and so much more. It will be a special place that maintains the characteristics of its past history and preservation of our beautiful city. We can’t wait until the transformation is complete! #lovelafayette #historicpreservation #downtownrenovations”. News of the venture even caught the attention of Bama Buzz, an online media outlet focused on Alabama who describe themselves as being “invested in making Alabama better. We do that by publishing positive, engaging, useful + actionable content. We cover the good in Alabama, including start-up businesses, local jobs, wellness, food + drink, travel, arts, education, nature, events and more.” Like the neighboring business Hometown Mercantile, Bama Buzz reported that The Venue will be a joint venture between Steve White and Kim Langley who are currently renovating the space with a target opening date of October 1st.
Making the news that much sweeter is the long standing historical significance of the building soon to be occupied by a business once again. According to an August 7th post on the official facebook page for the Chambers County Museum, a vintage photo of the location when it was ‘Persons Furniture Co.’ was accompanied by the caption “this store is one of three that was built in 1901 by William ‘Lee’ Allen. Two more to the left were built by kinsmen of Lee and a fourth store to the right built by J. C. Griffin. A number of businesses located here over the years including the LaFayette post office 1904-1909. As for this photo, W. S. Persons of Columbus, GA opened his store in June, 1946 in the building previously occupied by Sunshine Cleaners. LaFayette native Walter Thomas was store manager. The store was in business until possibly sometime prior to April, 1951. A notice appeared in ‘The LaFayette Sun’ on April 7 that Luke P. McClendon and son Robert McClendon were opening a new store McClendon Home Furnishings.”