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McIntosh facility bought

Photo by Nate McCullough

Photo by Nate McCullough

COVINGTON -- United Bank has purchased the former McIntosh Commercial Bank facility on U.S. Highway 278 and will be relocating its Newton Plaza location, said CEO Jim Edwards.

"We have been operating in Newton County and Covington for over four years and although we've established three separate offices, none were really sufficient to meet the needs of all our customers in the long run," Edwards said.

After McIntosh failed last year, United Bank representatives began talks to purchase the building. Initially, they thought the more than 16,000-square-foot facility was too big for their needs, Edwards said, but as it continued to sit empty, and as McIntosh continued to reduce the price, it became a more attractive prospect.

"The longer it sat empty, the more we talked and the more they lowered the price. Ultimately, the price got to be significantly cheaper to buy that location than to build a new banking facility. It's a good thing for the community. It wouldn't be a good thing for the community to have the building sit vacant for an extended period of time," Edwards said.

The facility will offer safe deposit boxes and a drive-thru for customers. United Bank will use the first floor and lease the second floor to other businesses.

About 15 employees will transfer to the new location.

"As the economy continues to improve, we anticipate hiring additional employees for the new location," Edwards said.

Newton County has been one of United Bank's fastest growing markets, he said.

"We've been very pleased with the growth we've had in Newton County," Edwards continued. "We're the fourth largest bank in Newton County and it's a really important market for us long-term. We recognize the economy is depressed now, but we're very bullish in the long term on Covington and Newton County."

It will take two to three months to complete the move and customers should continue to use the site in Newton Plaza until that time. That facility will be sold or leased, Edwards said. United Bank also has locations on Washington Street and inside the Wal-Mart on Industrial Boulevard.

In other business news, Save-A-Lot grocery store is opening Feb. 10 in Covington Corners shopping center at U.S. Highway 278 and Elm Street. Save-A-Lot will occupy a portion of the old Food Depot store, which has sat empty for five years.

The facility is 24,000 square feet and Save-A-Lot will take up approximately 16,000 square feet, said John Brozovich with Halpern Enterprises, the company that owns the property. For now, the rest of the building will remain unoccupied.

Save-A-Lot will hire 20 to 25 employees, according to spokeswoman Chon Tomlin. The majority of hires will be done within the community, she said. Fore more information, visit www.save-a-lot.com/careers.

Save-A-Lot is a discount grocery chain with more than 1,200 stores in 39 states. The Covington location will be the 38th store in Georgia.

"We have everything customers need to feed their families at a savings of up to 40 percent over conventional grocery stores," Tomlin said.

Stores sell product brands exclusive to Save-A-Lot to achieve lower costs. Some national brands are also available.