New businesses opening in Tuscaloosa as COVID-19 restrictions end

Local News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Tuscaloosa’s economy continues to grow stronger as more new businesses are opening.  

A number of struggling stores and restaurants closed down last year because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Bret Dunnaway is hoping things will continue to turn around. Six days ago, he opened his new restaurant, Jersey Mike’s Subs, on The Strip near the University of Alabama’s campus.

“It feels really good because its right at the right time where everything is opening back up and settling in and you can tell the customers are excited to get out to get in a place and not have to wear a mask and it just feels good to be starting at this point,” Dunnaway said.

Dunnaway hired 22 employees and is planning to hire 10 more in the future. On Memorial Day, Walk On’s Sports Bistreaux celebrated its grand opening on Skyland Boulevard as 150 employees were hired. Spokesperson Jamie Smith says she is also glad to be part of the growing trend of new businesses opening up in Tuscaloosa during a pandemic.

“It’s really exciting and we feel blessed, there are not many restaurants and brands that were able to open during the pandemic and we feel blessed to provide this opportunity for this community,” Smith said.

Tuscaloosa City Council President Kip Tyner says the Tuscaloosa economy will only continue to improve with more stores, restaurants and hotels opening for business.

“To see the energy of these restaurants and I was at Walk On’s the other night and everyone was totally excited because they were actually out shoulder to shoulder table by table and it’s a great feeling and it is fantastic for our economy,” Tyner said.

City officials say seven new restaurants and three new hotels have opened since January.

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