By Mindy Crandall
It’s hard to imagine how much transformation can take place in a small town with a population of 3,186 in a year’s time. Much more than you would think.
Not only did Ava elect a new mayor, Eddie Maggard and install several new stop signs at four-way intersections and busy residential neighborhoods, but city employees welcomed many new businesses, issued permits for renovations and new constructions and were saddened by the loss of longtime entrepreneurs who called it quits.
Many modifications were minimal, and at a quick glance could be overlooked. Pizza Hut changed its color scheme as well as Wal-Mart. The updates although small, help Ava look its best and are appreciated.
Action is happening on the Ava Square as J & W Medical Supply, Serenity Day Spa, Marriott Music and Bailey’s New and Used Clothing all offer their services in one centralized location. Around every corner, a new business is building its future on the Ava Square!
Bailey’s New and Used Clothing is located in the former Primitive Thymes Country Gifts & Home Décor building. Primitive Thyme owners Brad and Amanda Evans moved to a bigger location as their business began to bloom. In a year’s time, they also began to offer floral arrangement services.
J & W General Store opened its doors this year, across from the Ava Drug, just off of the Square. Many locals remember this landmark as the Brown Derby.
Jam Dandy Recording Studio also moved closer to the four-sided hub of Ava. It is now open next to the Ava Family Theatre. Its previous location was on South Highway 5, just past D.W. Woodcraft, however, they did share the same driveway. My Brother’s Place also shared this location for a short time. Both moved, and the billiard and arcade relocated to the old Benji Dry Auction Barn across from the Super 8.
The Ozark Action preschool program, Headstart, also once called this location on Highway 5 its home.
It is coincidence that Ava Headstart and Cross Point Church both underwent new construction, but in a new direction on Y Highway. Cross Point Church held Sunday services in the old Benji Dry Auction Barn shortly before My Brother’s Place moved in leaving the old Headstart building. A new business is now opening in this location.
Pastor Ron Wallace and the congregation of Cross Point Church were not only patient, but blessed, seeking God for assurance while undergoing such a project. It was completed in 2011! It now holds services in a newly built big, metal building. Its doors are open as it sits on the left hand side of the road, at the corner turning to the Ava Schools Sports Complex.
A few miles farther past the golf course, but also to the left, sits the new spacious Ava Headstart building. It is a much quieter location, though more of a drive to town.
Also seeking a new location in the community, Shelter Insurance established a new building in the Cooper Lumber parking lot. It is also home to Payroll Advance.
Cooper Lumber Co. and the Town and Country Bank Drive-Thru also improved upon the façade of their buildings with paint and other renovations.
The City of Ava also witnessed the construction of a new water tower on East 76 and the watershed on 5th Avenue.
Also adding appeal to the Ava area is the Ava Community Playground, located behind the MOCH Wellness Center. Many members of the community had a hand in seeing that this was built in a week’s time.
For those living just outside the city limits, patience was a virtue as most waited with anticipation for the finishing touches to be placed on many county and MoDot bridges.
Ava became home to at least five new businesses – Common Grounds, a coffee shop located in the Ava Full Gospel basement; Hidden Treasures, a farm machinery and misc. consignment store, located across from Sallee Motors; and Woods and Water, a Sporting Goods Store located North of Junction 5 and West 76; Access Home Health Agency in the Roberts Centre, and Georgia’s Place behind the license bureau. We welcome you!
Also in the neighborhood and slightly in front of Georgia’s Place, Ava Animal Clinic built a much larger barn. The veterinary office, Douglas County Animal Hospital, also made improvements to their location.
MFA moved to a bigger location last year on North Hwy. 5 next to Dr. Chern’s office, but renovated and added retail space this year as both Denney’s Chiropractic and Farmer’s Insurance Group moved to a newer location in the Roberts Centre.
P.C. Express also moved seeking a more central location, close to the main business district. It is nestled between the Hurricane Bay Carwash and Curtis Dept. Store.
Town and Country Supermarket received the most improvements – gutted from floor to ceiling. The store-front received a face lift as well as a complete renovation inside. It has a more modern appeal.
Also seeking attention is the fast food chain, McDonald’s. Its improvements are yet to be finished, however, it is taking on a whole new look.
Casey’s General Store expanded with a second location at the four-way stop on South Highway 5 after Ava said goodbye to the Shell station, which used to call this site home.
We also last year said farewell to the owners of Ron’s Carpet, Highway House Café, Harris Construction, Vern’s Gun and Pawn, Hartley’s Shoe Store, Y.E.S., Blooms & More and Papa Smoke. Many of these establishments were pillars of our community for several years. We wish you the best in the future! For many, enjoy retirement!
Some may come and some may go, but just like the news, not all is bad. Changes can be good! We appreciate every business that calls Ava home.
For the few I may have overlooked, I give you my regrets as it was not intentional.
As a member of this community, I am not only proud, but blessed. We are fortunate to call this town our home!