Commercial Outlook in Lowndes County

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Many national retailers are interested in opening new stores in our area. Even though we are only four days into the new year, 2005 has been a busy one for many local commercial realtors.

Gary Minchew, a commercial real estate broker, says, "We've had two national retailers that are in town this week and people would know their names."

Realtors say businesses like Best Buy and Rugged Warehouses have been so happy with their recent success in Valdosta, more retailers and restaurants are looking to do the same.

Minchew adds, "Everybody wants to know about Olive Garden. Well, we've got something specific we are working on for Olive Garden. None of them could work out; all of them could work out."

But so far, many of the empty buildings already have the attention of several popular businesses, and that's not all. With three strip malls coming to our area, realtors say it's proof our region has become a hot commodity for many retailers, but business experts point out all these new additions could bring about one small but welcomed problem.

Myrna Ballard of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce says, "Our challenge is going to be managing the growth that's coming our way. It's a good problem to have, but it's none the less a challenge."

And of course, more business means more sales tax being pumped into our economy. Business developers say local universities provide a higher quality workforce which will also attract new retailers to the area.