ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - People in East Albany will soon have a new place to eat, drink and get a haircut.
One Leaf Community Store broke ground Friday. It’s expected to bring money into East Albany.
The store will be a one-stop-shop. It will have eight different businesses and a gas station. It’s also the owner’s long-time dream.
“He wanted to give something back because he’s been here for like 25 years now,” said Jaymin Patel, the CEO of One Leaf. “He saw this disparity, nothing’s changing. At first, he’s like let’s copy and paste a convenient store but make it bigger so they can chill.”
After some collaboration, the idea for the One Leaf Community Store was born. It will have a gas station, barbershop, post office, clothing store, ice cream shop, café, restaurant and beverage store.
“What we wanted to create was a home for a lot of local businesses and also something where the community can get the basic necessities of life from it,” explained Patel. “So what we did was we took a lot of local businesses in the area or people that wanted to start a business. We saw what the community needed and we put it all in one area.”
“Underdevelopment and disinvestment in East Albany has been a main thing. This family has made a private investment in the land and into the community and more importantly, into the people,” said Dougherty County Commissioner Clinton Johnson.
Johnson said the new store will bring jobs and spur the economy.
“Number two, it’s going to attract investment. When you start cleaning up areas, people want to be a part of a good thing and this is a really good thing,” said Johnson. “So there’s more development coming behind this place, so the more we do in this area, it spurs more development and brings up this side of town more and more.”
It will also serve as a place where the community can come together. So, it’s fitting that creating it was a group effort.
Jana Dyke/President and CEO, Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission said they came into the picture “at the request of our commissioner, Johnson, and got involved in figuring out how we can assist with connecting the Patel family with the needed resources in the community and the state.”
The store is off Highways 19 and 82. It’s expected to open later this year.