The Five Points West Community organization recognized Walter Thomas and Anthony Marino, owners of Lena’s East of the Mississippi Diner and Marino’s Market (respectively) with the Five Points West Community Partner Award. The two were chosen as recipients of this award for their historic and ongoing support of neighborhood improvement projects.
Marino and Thomas are founding members of the Five Points West/Crossplex Alliance, which is a collaboration of business owners, property owners, residents, the City of Birmingham and REV, intended to move the commercial district forward. When the City of Birmingham began building the framework for strengthening the Five Points West community around the creation of the Birmingham Crossplex, they reached out to an existing group of five active community members, including Marino and Thomas, who were very supportive in bringing businesses to the area.
The Five Points West community holds monthly merchant meetings that provide the community with an opportunity to connect with area businesses. At the March 2018 meeting, held at Lena’s East of the Mississippi Diner, Thomas and Marino were given plaques engraved with words of appreciation, thanking them for all they have done for the community and encouraging their continued support. The issuing of the Community Partner Award encourages other merchants to model Thomas’ and Marino’s support of Five Points West.
“As we continue to develop and strengthen the community, we are hopeful that all the existing merchants and newcomers will join us in making Five Points West a sustainable area of Birmingham, and we need strong partnerships to do this,” said Dora Sims, Five Points West Community President. “Mr. Thomas and Mr. Marino model how community support and involvement have a strong impact on our ability to grow.”
After opening Chocolatà Artisanal Chocolatier in 2017, Kathy D’Agostino has enjoyed watching the once quiet streets of downtown Birmingham come back to life. REV sat down with her to learn more about how she landed here, where she thinks the city is heading, and why Chocolata believes in Birmingham.