Ribbons cut on North Alabama Dive Center, new Payroll Services location

Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune

Business owners Eric Parker (former candidate for Cullman County Commission chairman), holding scissors, and his wife Jennifer Parker, to his left, cut the ribbons on their two businesses on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. The new location of Payroll Services is right next door to the new North Alabama Dive Center in the King Edward Plaza Shopping Center. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN – Ribbon cutting ceremonies were held Wednesday morning at the new location of Payroll Services and the new North Alabama Dive Center in the King Edward Plaza Shopping Center. Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs, members of the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce and representatives from Drinkard Development were on hand as owners Eric and Jennifer Parker cut the ribbons at their two businesses.

Jacobs thanked the Parkers for all of their hard work adding, “It is exciting to see the growth of Payroll Services and the opening of the Dive Center is great news. I speak to people at church and other places who mention they scuba dive so having a dive center here is exciting.”

Jennifer Parker said, “Payroll Services has been in business for 10 years, but we have outgrown our old location. The new space is ideal. The space was large enough that Eric and I could put up a wall dividing the space to have our businesses next door to each other.”

Payroll Services is a job placement service. Most of the jobs it hires for are manufacturing and plant work.

Jennifer Parker explained, “If a person goes to many of the plants in Cullman, they are going to refer them to us. We handle the background checks and drug screenings required. Everyone is hiring right now, so if someone needs a job, send them to us. We can usually place a person in a couple of days.”

Payroll Services is open Monday- Thursday 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Find out more at www.facebook.com/payserv.

Right next door is the North Alabama Dive Center. Both Eric and Jennifer Parker have been certified divers for eight years. They discovered their interest in scuba after a trip to the Georgia Aquarium.  Guests were offered an opportunity to dive in the aquarium, but the Parkers weren’t certified, so they decided they should be. Eight years later, what started as a hobby has turned into a family business.

Eric Parker shared, “We are thrilled to share our love of scuba with others and introduce people to something we love so much.”

The North Alabama Dive Center is the only dive shop within 60 miles. It offers a variety of certifications, organizes dive trips and offers all types of scuba gear.

“We encourage (everyone) to come for (our class) ‘Try Scuba.’ All you need is a towel and a swimsuit. We will arrange a time for you to go to Smith Lake pool and dive in 3-5-feet water. A dive master will be with you, so you can get an idea whether or not this is for you. You must be at least 8 years old but to achieve junior certification, you must be at least 10 years of age,” said Eric Parker.

Try Scuba is highly recommended. Scuba is an investment and the initial start-up costs can be high, but the equipment, if properly maintained, can last for many years or a lifetime.

While showing a video of a dive with sharks in Nassau Bahamas, Jennifer Parker recalled, “I thought Eric was crazy. I thought, I can’t get in there and breathe under water! Then, I got down there and fell in love. You hear yourself breathing and the rest of the world just goes away. Now, I have the ability to see all these beautiful things. I want to dive in Hawaii with the manta rays. There is a night dive you can do with a group where everyone forms a circle and shines their flashlights up. The manta rays will come play and swim in the bubbles. That’s what I want to do.”

The Parkers have been able to dive at Epcot and are still working on returning to the Georgia Aquarium.

Eric Parker is a certified dive master and is a reserve deputy with Cullman County Sheriff’s Office. He is a member of the dive team and has helped certify members of other law enforcement agencies in diving and water rescues. 

Classes for certifications ranging from junior to dive master are offered at the Dive Center. There are two trips planned to Vortex Springs in Florida. One of those trips will also include a dive in Poseidon’s Playground at Orange Beach. This open water dive will take place off a boat and meet the criteria needed to complete junior certification. 

For more information on the North Alabama Dive Center, visit www.facebook.com/NorthAlabamaDiveCenter.

Both Payroll Services and the North Alabama Dive Center are located at 1704 Second Ave. SW in the King Edward Plaza Shopping Center.

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