Valdosta 2007

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They sell bikes, they serve dozens of meals a day; two of the more than 3,500 businesses call Valdosta home, a number reflective of the city's population.

Ruby Riesigner, Valdosta economic developer, said, "We got a wide variety of demographics from military, recent college students, high school students, suburban families, anything you can think of we have a mix of."

The city's diversity, paired with its climate and proximity to major highways, is opening the door for creating new business. In addition, programs like the Seed Center are arming aspiring businessmen and women with the tools they need to succeed.

Nick Valenti with the Chamber of Commerce said, "We want to continue all those programs and especially emphasize this year the creation of jobs for college and university graduates."

It’s something city officials agree needs to be done.

John Fretti, Mayor of Valdosta, said, "We've been accused in the past of having a brain drain. People get educated here and they leave. We've started that through our high tech industry that we've acquired just last year."

Leading that industry is Valdosta Optics, set to open for business later this year.

Riesigner added, "Working together, we’re going to see a great 2007."

City leaders say planning is the first step in making 2007 the year for booming business.