Business Rumors Deli: state award and new location | CullmanSense

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Rumors Deli: state award and new location

Rumors Deli is moving to as-of-yet undisclosed location in early January 2018. Its current building was sold and Rumors’ lease is up Dec. 31. / Andrew Cryer

We’re just excited now.  Now it’s like, we’re just going to have to close our eyes and jump, just like we did 17 years ago.”
Annette Harris, co-owner of Rumors Deli

CULLMAN - The Alabama Retail Association and University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business have issued their list of nominees for Alabama Retailer of the Year, and this year it includes Cullman’s own Rumors Deli.  The award is given out at gold, silver and bronze levels to a wide variety of retail establishments categorized not by types of products or services, but by sales volume.  The awards honor retailers who have demonstrated good sales performance, innovation and active community involvement.

On Thursday, The Tribune sat down with co-owner Annette Harris to find out about the nomination, and catch up on what is shaping up to be an eventful time for the Warehouse District eatery.

What does it take to get nominated?

“That’s a good question; I don’t know,” began Harris.  “I was nominated by Margaret Hamm from Monograms Plus.  Then they take that, and they give me all these forms to fill out: it’s based on your sales, things you do for the community.  Gosh, it’s very detailed: your products, your growth, your plans for the future.  Just a lot of things go into that.

“Then we got a notice that we were one of the finalists, and we were really shocked, you know, because it’s a pretty big deal.  We don’t know if we got gold, silver or bronze, but we get one of those.”

The awards will be announced at the Alabama Retail Luncheon on Oct. 17, at Vestavia Hills Country Club in Birmingham.

Have you heard? Rumors Deli is moving. But where?

Harris guarded her secrets, saying, “We’re not going to tell a lot about that, because there’s still a lot of things in the works, a lot of decisions going back and forth, but we do have a location, we will have a pick-up window.  We’ll have more room there, and it’s going to be a great place.”

Customers will be able to call ahead to order, and pick up at the drive-through window.  The restaurant will maintain its current hours, offering breakfast and lunch.

“We have breakfast now,” said Harris, “but a lot of people don’t know that; and we haven’t really pushed it, because we’ve just been in here doing what we can do to get ready for the day and all.  So we’re really going to have to kick it up.  I’ve got some ideas for breakfast sandwiches like no other here in Cullman, and just some different things: some basic ones, but also some really neat breakfast sandwiches.  And I think that’s going to go pretty good.

“And then we’ll have our usual lunch.  We’re not going to extend our hours or anything like that.  We’re going to keep exactly what we’ve got, just like what we had, and just try to keep what we can handle.

“We’re having a lot of trouble right now, as well as a lot of other businesses, finding employees.  You know, we could use about three more.  We’re trying to get everybody in here, get them trained, because we hope to open back up around the first of the year, because our lease ends Dec. 31.  We’re hoping to open back up the very closest to the beginning of January we can.”

Harris and her husband Ralph have not decided on a specific date to close down the current location.

“We really don’t know what the procedure’s going to be,” continued Harris, “as far as what we’re going to move over there, what they have to do as far as plumbing.

“We’re hoping and planning to have outdoor dining, too; kind of like what we’ve got, just something simple like that.  But it’s going to look really good; it’s going to be sharp.

“We wouldn’t have thought we’d be moving, but when our building sold, we were a little upset, because we didn’t know what to do.  We never thought we’d be doing anything else.  This time, we’re going to buy something; it’ll be ours.  We’re really excited; it’s going to be a good thing.

“It threw us for a loop, for a little bit, for a couple of months.  Then we kind of got our thoughts together, and thought, ‘Okay, what are we going to do?  This is our chance now.  Since we’re going to own something, we’re going to move one time.  What are we going to do?’  So we just put together ideas of what we really wanted this time, and we tried to find out what our customers wanted. 

“And we’re finding out that our business will increase, because of the pick-up window.  And I’d like to get some help with some technology things about online ordering, or letting them do that through an app.  We’re going to add things like that a little at a time.  And our social media is kicking up some; we’re learning how to do that.  We have Instagram and Facebook, and a website. 

“We’re just excited now.  Now it’s like, we’re just going to have to close our eyes and jump, just like we did 17 years ago.”

No matter the location…

Harris emphasized that, wherever the restaurant reopens its doors and whatever its new amenities might be, Rumors customers ultimately will recognize the same hometown eatery they knew before, operating under the same vision.

“This is our passion,” said Harris.  “We are not a chain type restaurant.  We have worked really hard ourselves.  We are here; we don’t just walk out and leave it at the end of the day.  We are here. 

“We are different, because we want our customers to feel it’s personal.  You know, it’s like when they come in here, this isn’t just another place to eat where you don’t get anything personal.  We try to get to know their names, and we try to figure out what they like and help them find something, and we remember their favorites.  We feel like that makes us special.”

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  • Andrew Cryer
  • Andrew Cryer
  • Andrew Cryer
  • Andrew Cryer