When Millbrook’s City Hall moved to a new location last year, the City’s Economic Development Department and Millbrook Area Chamber of Commerce saw an opportunity to work together.
Currently, there are two empty offices available for possible startups or businesses looking for office space.
“If someone needs some help, we have our resources here to work with them to develop a business idea,” said Ann Harper, economic development director. “It’s a good place to come conduct professional work and learn about the community.”
The 40-year-old building located at 3390 Main St., received a complete facelift over six months and was converted into the professional, inviting space known as Millbrook Economic Development Center, or MEDC for short.
“Many cities have their economic development under the chamber, but here it’s a city department. We have a great working relationship though and have joined forces to make the community better,” said Ann Harper, economic development director.
Aside from new flooring, carpet, paint and furniture, the City of Millbrook received a grant from Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs’ Energy Division to retrofit the lighting in the building for efficiency. The City provided matching funds to the $9,750 grant, and all lighting was replaced with LED fixtures that time out with inactivity and automatically switch on when someone enters a room.
“This is a pilot building for the city for energy efficiency,” said Harper. “Not to mention it’s much more aesthetically pleasing.”
The facility was originally a bank before it was the town's city hall and now the MEDC, so the section with the drive-through window was converted into a conference room. A faux wall covers the old window, which ultimately will have a flat screen mounted to it.
The conference room seats about 16 people, and tables can be rearranged per groups’ needs. Millbrook chamber members have the added perk to use the room for free for business meetings; it just has to be reserved.
“The conference room adds value to our chamber members and encourages them to be active,” said Elisa Jones, Millbrook Area Chamber of Commerce executive director.
The room already has been utilized by many groups, and during the academic year, an electrician class is held three nights a week.
“It’s the city’s contribution to workforce development by allowing them to use this space for free,” Harper said.
Longtime Millbrook Chamber of Commerce volunteer Jan Brown greets visitors to the building from the welcome desk.
“We’ve had a lot of newcomers to the community come by looking for information, which is exactly what we want,” said Harper.
The two organizations have the added benefit of sharing resources and helping each other out, especially if one of them is gone from the building.
Sgt. Tyler Eads, a recruiter with the Alabama Army National Guard, also rents an office in the new facility where he interviews applicants for enlistment in the Guard. Eads is happy to talk to anyone interested in joining the military, and he can be reached at 334-268-1029.
Elmore County Art Guild exhibits artwork in the building as well, creating an additional draw to bring people through the doors.
“I love this location. It lends itself to be highly visible; it’s on a prominent corner, close to downtown and it looks great,” said Harper.
A common work area soon will have a printer and copier for everyone in the building to use, and there also is a full kitchen.
“We see opportunities here with this space that we just didn’t have before,” said Harper.
For more information, call MEDC at 334-285-0330.