Downtown Cullman transformed by new business growth


The city of Cullman is making a comeback. In April last year, downtown was torn apart by a devastating tornado and some resident wondered if the city would ever look the same. But today, Cullman is seeing a change giving new life to North Central Alabama."April 27th was a devastating time for Cullman, it was probably the worst tragedy we had ever had," Jeff Lawson, Manager, Southern Accents said.{}But a year and a half later, they're rising up out of the rubble.{}"You go downtown and you see a new building," Dot Gudger, a longtime Cullman neighbor said.{}{}{}"Ultimately it was a blessing - a blessing in disguise, I guess you could say," Lawson said. "But through that, it's revitalized our business.{}A lot of folks are building downtown, so it's actually helped us in the long run."{}One of the newest businesses to move downtown took up residence in one of the city's oldest buildings."Everyone is coming from everywhere, out of town, everywhere to see this house," Karen McCluskey, Owner, Candle Garden said.{}{}"We have a historic home - it's probably the second oldest home in the city," Gudger said. "It has just been redone and reopened as the Candle{}Garden."{}After a battle with cancer, it was Karen McCluskey's dream to move the Candle Garden - filled with handmade candles, furniture and gifts to the city center.{}{}"There are so many more people walking the sidewalks," McCluskey said. "The downtown is starting to be cleaned up and it's beautiful here."{}"We have more businesses coming downtown, folks looking to come downtown, but it's also sparked a home growth, we have more folks actually{}living above their businesses than we have ever had in Cullman," Lawson said."It makes you feel good today, actually I turned the corner and I said, oh that building has been redone!" Gudger said.{}"I think through this, the community has gotten stronger together," Lawson said.