By Gerry Clare
Photos courtesy of Tom Clare
January 12, 2018 6:30 a.m.
Watching and reporting on Centre Street growth over the last year, this reporter has seen new growth and excitement downtown. However, I should have noticed when Gilbert’s opened a new restaurant, galleries started up, storefronts and the old Ford place/Trawick Tile store began sprucing up, that things were a-happening on 8th Street.
My photographer hubby, Tom, and I started following BuyGo from Pelican Palms to 8th & Gum and finally to Fred’s old department store where we attended the January Blue Grass Night on January’s First Friday Night. The place was lively and had plenty of room for my favorite shortbread, wines, Caribou coffee, snack bar and everything else.
While we had breakfast one morning at BuyGo, I noticed the unique property across the street for sale next to Trinity Methodist Church has been redone and attractively set for a possible live- in owner business or other possibilities. So I called Phil Griffin, broker at Amelia Coastal Realty and active on the 8th Street Committee working group to revitalize the area, to check on the status of this project, which began again in 2014 after a lot of discussion since 2004.
Phil opened his business on 8th Street in 2004, but there had been little development due to commercial zoning restrictions. When Phil joined the committee 2 years ago, more attention was given to expanding the density and uses of commercial zoning with a new approach. With the cooperation of 8th Street businesses who spruced up properties and new zoning changes, the street began to “quietly transform,” according to Phil. (By the way, the next meeting of this city-citizen group will be on Monday, February 8th at the city golf course, if you wish to attend. You can check the city web page for more information or contacts.
Amelia Office Suites began to fill up, 212 South 8th is leased, Palm III Realty and my favorite hairdresser, Lili Thorne’s moved in. Road Shark Scooters and Beat Fitness started up. Aloha Bagels and Deli opened, and H&H Auto is now home to Amelia Eight Flags Autosports which used to be on A1A closer to the Shave Bridge. With attractive murals, photos of local classic cars, taken by Ed Richsteig, and wrapped on the bay doors by Brent Knott at Design It Graphics, this car repair shop is an artful new look for 8th Street.
Owners Al Grammel and Lynn Lindsay service, repair and do maintenance on all makes and models of foreign and domestic cars. Both of them have history with cars—Al with Nascar and Lynn as a race car driver. They also host the Amelia Legends Cars and Coffee Group on third Saturdays of the month from 9 a.m. to noon. You might say classic cars are their specialty.
They are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 5 at 925 South 8th Street. Check their Facebook page for interesting comments on cars and car stuff.
Editor’s Note: Gerry began free lance writing for fun and is the author of a published book (available on Amazon and at Books Plus) about funny real estate experiences. Gerry is a longtime member of our local American Business Women’s Chapter, a volunteer cancer driver and church deacon who loves to read, travel and meet interesting people.