Saturday, July 21, 2018 might have seemed like just another summer weekend dinner time for the restaurant in Fultondale. Actually it was, except for the covetous eyes of one customer. While the other diners searched the menu of delicious seafood to make their decision, that customer looked around, and wanted the entire place.
Leeds Mayor David Miller didn’t want that restaurant, but he did want one just like it, for his fast-growing, on-the-move, dynamic City of Leeds.
But this was much more than a random thought. For Miller, as people who know him will tell you, his random thoughts usually become Grand Openings and ribbon cutting ceremonies, because he usually makes things happen.
And Wintzell’s was no exception. As he dined with Mrs. Miller on that hot summer Saturday, Miller and his longtime bride reflected on the three years that he had been pursuing Wintzell’s to open a new location in Leeds.
To the Millers’ surprise, less than 48 hours after their latest Wintzell’s dinner, Miller posted the great news on Facebook. “A GREAT RESTAURANT AT LAST!!” Miller announced. “One of the most asked questions is ‘When are we going to get a good sit-down restaurant in Leeds?’ I’m happy to announce that the outstanding seafood restaurant Wintzell’s Oyster House has announced their expansion into the Leeds market.”
When asked how he recruited Wintzell’s over the past three years, the Mayor’s answer came cloaked in trademark humility. “Leeds has so much to offer,” he explained. “With the Barber Motor Sports facility, the outlet mall, the Bass Pro Shop, the Coyote Theater, and access to the interstate, Leeds really just sells itself.”
That sounds great, but the fact is that there are some other communities offering many of the same benefits with which Leeds has been blessed. What was the difference between Leeds and the other communities that were passed over? “It helped that we didn’t let up for three years,” Miller said.
That combination – the assets of Leeds combined with the Mayor who won’t quit recruiting and pursing – has resulted in well over 100 new and expanded business in Leeds over the last five years.
According to Miller, Wintzell’s had actually looked at an attractive parcel of land some time earlier, but both the price and the acreage were too large for the restaurant. Later, when the future Wintzell’s location was discovered, they went through Leeds native Keith Hall and his business partner, who purchased the property, renovated the site of the old restaurant situated on it and are preparing it for the lease to Wintzell’s.
According to sources within city government, other recruitment efforts may soon pay off as well, as Leeds continues its roll into a golden age of expansion and improvements. If the efforts are successful, as the sources believe they will be, Miller’s recruitment efforts could result in additional upscale residential development and an announcement that could further increase the success of Leeds as a tourist destination.
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