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New bank dazzles Flowery Branch

Habersham branch’s building stands out on Spout Springs

POSTED: November 13, 2008 5:00 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

The new Habersham Bank building on Spout Springs Road. The construction of the new location, which has taken about a year, has drawn a lot of attention in the South Hall community.

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FLOWERY BRANCH — A year in the making, South Hall’s newest bank on Spout Springs Road has caught the eye of motorists and gawking children alike.

Children at the neighboring child care center, The Goddard School, would go to the fence of the Habersham Bank property and say, "Look at that castle they’re building over there," said Sheila Tolan, office resource employee at the bank.

Flowery Branch is growing up, but there aren’t many properties in this small South Hall town that can boast three-story French provincial architecture, complete with a third-story partial balcony.

"We wanted to build something that would be different, that would be beautiful, that would make a statement for our commitment to this area," said J. Michael Stewart, northeast metro market president.

The bank at 5977 Spout Springs Road, which opened last Monday, isn’t vast in size — it features 28,000 square feet — just to impress passers-by.

Bank officials eventually hope to make it the Southern regional base for the Clarkesville-based operation.

"It’s not all going to come at once here, but as we expand, as we develop, we’ll move more and more operations and administration into this building," Stewart said.

The banks has 12 offices in several counties, opening one five years ago in Braselton, about 200 feet from the Hall County line.

"As we look to where we want to expand, we look for rapidly growing markets, and Braselton five years ago definitely was one that we felt like was on the up and coming," said Martha Reabold, senior vice president for marketing and training.

"... It was kind of a natural progression to come to Flowery Branch. We saw the growth that was starting to occur here."

The Spout Springs Road branch serves as a "perfect central point between Cherokee County, Cumming and Habersham," Reabold added. "It’s just a great middle area for us."

The bank had planned for three years for a Flowery Branch location and began working on the three-story structure about a year ago.

Habersham Bank wanted to achieve a "distinctive design (that) incorporated the signature style of other ... (branches) with an updated, elegant look," Reabold said.

In the meantime, to build up a customer base for the new branch, the company maintained an office at 6360 Spout Springs Road, off Capitola Farm Road. It will close for good Dec. 31.

As for the wisdom of putting up an imposing new bank when the economy, particularly the banking industry, is suffering, "This (bank) has been on the drawing board a little longer than the current economic cycle," Stewart said.

"And we determined we were going to build a (branch) of this size several years ago, so the money was already allocated, we were already headed down that path," Stewart added.

"However, with some local banks having been taken over, we feel (also) like we’re well poised and that there was a gaping hole here in South Hall that we’re prepared to fill."


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