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Downtown area will be percolating

Downtown Albany is getting a new coffee shop.

Filling a void left by the departure of Brown Bean Coffee, Elements Coffee Co. plans to open at the same location on Jackson Street in early January.

Calvin King and his brother, Anthony, have signed a lease with Mary Carter of Murray Webb and Associates to lease the former Brown Bean location.

The Kings are actually expanding the shop, adding about 300 additional square feet to allow for more seating.

"We've taken this on as a project," Calvin King said. "We know putting a business downtown can be quite chancy, but we believe in our business and marketing abilities and our product."

Calvin King already operates Elements Coffee Co. on Ledo Road. Elements has been open at Ledo Road for more than two years. Anthony operates the Little Caesars in Albany, which includes the original shop on North Slappey and a recently-opened shop in East Albany.

Calvin said the hours of operation have not been determined yet. He hopes to get Albany State University students behind the project. If the shop becomes an after hours gathering spot for ASU students, the hours can be expanded, he said.

Calvin King said they plan to offer breakfast and lunch along with his coffee-based products.

CHANGES AHEAD: It's been another tough year for automobile dealers. Sales have not been great, but there have been bright moments. The Cash for Clunkers program did stimulate some sales although the verdict on the program's overall effectiveness is still out.

Many dealerships closed, as automakers trimmed their operations.

I'm not anticipating any dealership closings, but there are changes ahead in the ownership of a couple of Albany's major dealerships.

Walt Coward, who owns Sunbelt Ford, will be the new owner of Ford Town in Albany. The Albany-Dougherty Payroll Development Authority has approved the new ground lease for Coward.

Also in a separate matter, talks are under way involving the sale of a second longtime dealership.

ANNOUNCEMENT: An announcement is expected at 2 p.m. Monday regarding marketing efforts by the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission.

An announcement is expected by State Rep. Winfred Dukes of Albany and Georgia Department of labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond.

ADJUSTMENTS: Tough economic times cause business owners to look at options they might not have otherwise considered.

Mike Brown, owner of Woods Gallery on Meredyth Drive, is an example.

Woods Gallery has been in business for about 40 years, but not in its current form. It started as Munford Do it Yourself at Slappey and Gillionville. After a couple of moves and changes in marketing plans, the store evolved into a framing business.

While still doing a good business in his core specialty, Brown realized that some people, when money is tight, may opt to put off framing a piece of artwork or a photograph.

To adjust and generate new income, Brown has partnered with businessman Darby Espy to add new merchandise to the store.

On a consignment basis, Espy is selling a variety of home products including oriental rugs, distressed furniture, blown glass and antique birdhouses.

TAX BREAKS: MillerCoors has reached an agreement with the Payroll Development Authority that extends its lease and provides an extension of tax breaks.

MillerCoors agreed to a 15-year extension which include a 10 percent break on personal property taxes. That would increase to 20 percent if the company adds another 30 jobs. The break would disappear if MillerCoors drops below 500 employees.

MillerCoors also gets a real estate tax break based on a similar employee breakdown.

Danny Carter can be contacted at (229) 888-9346 or e-mailed at danny.carter@albanyherald.com.