A change to a zoning ordinance by the Weaver City Council last month led to the official ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday of an as-yet unnamed metal-roofing business on Anniston Street run by the Tri Area company of Jacksonville. The business is just inside Weaver’s city limits, a few feet from the entrance of the newly constructed welcoming sign on the Chief Ladiga Trail at the border of Anniston.
Evis Thompson and his wife, Linda, bought the 2.5 acres of land in the mid-1980s, Thompson said. His original plan was to open a daycare, but in 1990 his Army Reserve unit was called to go to Saudi Arabia.
“We thought maybe this is a sign,” Thompson said. “Maybe we shouldn’t get into the daycare business.”
Thompson’s son, Ray, the co-owner of Tri Area, had a short-lived greenhouse business on the property in the mid-1990s, but otherwise the land has set empty since, Thompson said.
“Ray came to us and said he needed a little help getting a new metal roofing business started,” Thompson said. “So we gave him a little help.”
Ray Thompson and his partner Steven Stone, both Anniston firefighters, started the Tri Area company in 2011, and have a lawn care, contracting and vending businesses based in Jacksonville.
“We don’t have any free time,” Ray said Wednesday, working on the foundation for his new business. “We just hope we can provide roofing for Weaver residents that they can get here locally.”
Weaver Mayor Wayne Willis said it’s his goal to draw more businesses to the city. Since taking office last year, plans for a new restaurant in the Buckhorn subdivision and a grocery store in the downtown area have been approved and both are under construction.
“We’re moving forward and changing the image of Weaver,” Willis said. “It’s all about the perception, and for years the perception of Weaver was a place you drive through on your way to Jacksonville.”
Willis said he hopes the metal roofing business will be a catalyst for future business growth along the Anniston border. Last month the City Council amended a zoning ordinance on the property, allowing the building to be constructed near the Chief Ladiga Trail, with plenty of room for more businesses to set up shop alongside the new metal roofing building.
Ray Thompson said he hopes to have the building completed by next month, with an eye towards opening the business in January and February.
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.