Armory sale good for city, buyer

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 20, 2006

If you have driven by the old Demopolis National Guard armory lately, you may have noticed a few changes.

The old vacant building that used to occupy the space is in the process of being converted into a fresh, new business.

Lettering on the front door already states the name of Covington Heavy Duty Parts Inc. and by March, that door could be open for business.

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Company president and owner Jimmy Pate said the new store would be number nine in a chain that covers three states. Their product, Pate said, is something that will prove very useful to the area.

“We sell all kinds of heavy duty parts for 18 wheelers,” Pate said. “Pretty much any part for 18 wheelers and trucks and trailers we sell.”

The company was ready to expand, Pate said, and wanted to find a location they felt they could grow with the city. After discussions with a local contact, he decided Demopolis was a suitable location.

“We were looking for place to expand and started checking around,” Pate said. “I talked to Ricky Alt, who is going to be the manager of this store. He used to work for Peterbilt and they closed down so I talked to him about it and he thought this would be a good location.”

The next step was looking for a building big enough to house their merchandise. After touring the city, Pate said, the old armory was suggested.

“We looked all over town for a building and the real estate man told me that I might be able to buy this old National Guard armory building from the city,” Pate said. “I talked to Mayor Williamson about is and she took it to the council and they okayed it.”

The council approved the sale of the building for $125,000 and the wheels were in motion.

Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson said the sale was a win-win situation for both parties. Pate received a structure large enough to satisfy his needs and the city had one less unoccupied building.

“We are always delighted to fill one of our vacant buildings,” Williamson said. “It always helps to have another tax revenue producing enterprise.”

Pate and company have already made a lot of progress, but he said they still have plenty to do before they open.

“Right now, we are trying to fix it up and make it look good,” Pate said. “We still have a long way to go, but we are working on it. We have been painting the inside and out and we have already done a lot of work.”

If things go according to plan, Pate said, they could be open by March.