By Natalie Simms
Things are very busy along Braves Boulevard around State Mutual Stadium these days. With construction on Lumina Coffee nearing completion, some 124 new tenants at the RiverPoint Apartments, plus strong business at Bella Roma Grill and Line-X, there’s lots of development taking shape just as the Rome Braves gear up for their 17th season this April.
Hiring is under way at Lumina Coffee Co., which will be opening soon on the front east corner of Braves Boulevard and the Bypass. Owner Mike Schieffer and his son, Matt, who will be general manager, say they plan to open by the first of February if not sooner.
“The weather has been challenging, unfortunately, we are at its mercy,” says Mike. “We hope to have a firmer date within the next week as crews continue to get all the exterior work completed.”
Meanwhile, some 250 applicants have applied for the initial 35 team member and team leader positions. Matt says they are “always looking for great people” and will continue to hire for various positions.
“Training is set to begin on Jan. 21 and will run for two weeks … it’s pretty intensive,” he says. “We are a very customer-centered business…that’s why we called it Lumina…we want to bring light into their day.”
In addition to an extensive list of traditional brewed, blended and expresso coffees and tea products, Lumina also will offer morning breakfast sandwiches as well as salads and grilled panini sandwiches during lunch and dinner.
“We will offer fresh and wholesome foods that are organic and locally grown when possible. Even in our pastries, we will have unique quality ingredients,” says Matt.
As for the shop itself, it will seat 65 inside and another 24 outside with hours 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Sundays. For more info or to apply for a position, visit www.luminacoffee.co
Some of those most excited about Lumina opening soon live just across the road at the RiverPoint Apartments. The development, which includes 124 units (one, two and three bedrooms), was just completed last summer by Charles Williams Real Estate Investment Corp.
“We have all the apartments leased up and we are very excited about that,” says Gardner Williams, Vice President of Charles Williams REIC. “We actually have a waiting list and are currently accepting applications for those wanting to join the waiting list.”
“Our residents are very excited about Lumina opening up. Another restaurant would be great, too,” he says.
Meanwhile, business continues to grow at Bella Roma Grill, which is beginning its 10th year across from State Mutual Stadium.
“Business has grown steadily over the 10 years but the first few were a great challenge. Being a stand-alone restaurant, not in a strip mall or on Broad Street, presented us with a unique situation where we had to become a destination for customers,” says owner Eddie Hasko.
“Once our customers experienced the great service, friendly atmosphere of a family run restaurant and excellent food, they became regulars and business has grown yearly.”
Hasko is looking forward to more development.
“We have been waiting for the development to come, it has been slow but finally here. The Tennis Center has been the biggest impact on our business and appreciate the support we get from them,” he says. “The apartments have also become a part of our community and business. We cannot wait for more to come.”
Adjacent to Bella Roma Grill is Line-X, a truck bedliner company, that opened in April 2017. Bill Irmscher, who helps run the business owned by his son Steve, says their location has been great for the business.
“We have a good spot and the traffic count is unbelievable…we’re very visible from both the Bypass and the Armuchee Connector,” says Bill. “This is an excellent location and we are hoping for more development to continue.”
Bill says he’s been surprised as the business they get from the Tennis Center as well. “Folks from Chattanooga are here to play tennis and they will just drive in here to see if we can do something…it’s been great.”
As for the future, Hardy Realty has seven tracts, ranging in size from one acre up to 2.56 acres, available for sale along Braves Boulevard. Jimmy Kelley, one of the listing agents along with Jimmy Byars, says they have had a lot of interest.
“We have been casting our nets large on these tracts…soliciting outside of Rome and we’ve had had a good bit of interest on all the tracts,” says Kelley. “We don’t currently have any under contract right now but maybe soon.
“The area is definitely growing with the coffee shop opening soon and the apartments complete. The traffic counts have increased with the tennis center. We really anticipate lots more interest.”
The Rome Braves certainly are hopeful about the benefits of increased development. The stadium itself is due for at least $500,000 in improvements thanks to the 2017 SPLOST package.
“The development will help in all areas … it is beautiful for all involved,” says Jim Bishop, general manager of the Rome Braves. “When the (double A) Braves moved to Mississippi, within a few years, we had a Bass Pro Shop next door then a Sam’s Club and a hotel. We saw lots of development after the stadium was built and then saw a good impact on attendance. I look forward to growing together.”