The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 7, 2013

Shireman’s owner advised to seek a new location

By Kim West

— Shireman’s Barber Shop has been in operation for more than 48 years at the L&S Shopping Center but owner Tammy Shireman has been advised to find another location.

Shireman spoke to the Limestone County Commission Monday morning prior to its regular meeting at the Clinton Street annex. The longtime barber asked the commissioners about their plans for L&S because her yearly lease expires in seven months.

“We were there when the county bought (L&S). We were a package deal, and we just need to know,” said Shireman. “I just need to know what (the commission’s) feelings are about the future.

“I know it would seem easy to go somewhere else but it’s like selling my home place … I literally was raised in the barbershop.”

Steve Turner and Ben Harrison were elected last November and were not part of the decision to purchase L&S. But both commissioners told Shireman it would be in her best interest to seek another location.

“My advice to you would be to probably think about relocating,” Harrison said. “As long as the building is standing there, and we don’t have buyers for it, my opinion is to let you stay there.”

When Shireman asked the commissioners what they would do in her situation, Turner said he would seek a new location.

“I would go. If you have the opportunity to move, or buy another space, I would move,” Turner said.

Shireman, who pays $125 in monthly rent to the county, had a month-to-month lease with former L&S owners Dick Smith and Billy Smith before they sold the seven-acre property on North Jefferson Street to the county for $525,000 in May 2012.

The county charges a minimal monthly rent based on square footage to the four remaining business tenants at L&S, including Shireman’s, Herbal Life, Hispanic Alcoholics Anonymous and JoAnn’s Beauty Shop.

All of the commercial leases will expire Sept. 30, according to the lease agreement. The commission must approve renewing the leases, and the county is required to provide a 30-days’ notice to vacate.

In January county workers razed two of three rental homes on the property and a shuttered restaurant building. A tenant pays $125 a month to rent the remaining home.

The next step at L&S is likely the removal of the former Fred’s building, which was deemed unusable after renovation bids exceeded the $300,000 estimated cost. The county does not require approval from the city of Athens to take down the estimated 8,500-square-foot building. However, a request through Athens Utilities would be needed to disconnect the utility connections.

“There’s actually not anything up there (at L&S) worth saving,” Latimer said. “The county is not in the business of renting and leasing. It was our intention to give (tenants) time to decide what to do.

“As soon as we get the OK from the city, we’re going to tear down the Fred’s building. That’s what we’re going to do (next).”

The commission has proposed building a prefabricated metal building on the north end of the property as a permanent home for the Community Corrections, Pardons and Paroles program. Community Corrections is currently housed in the Crutcher Shopping Center on South Jefferson Street.