Many businesses in the Azalea City are grateful for the military presence in their community. Businesses in Valdosta are reaping the benefits of the extra money military men and women receive for fighting in combat zones overseas.
Myrna Ballard, Chamber of Commerce President, says, "The extra jingle in their pockets is definitely icing on the cake. It’s just an additional injection into the local economy and out retailers are anxious to be of service to our airmen as they come home."
Sheila Mays, a military wife, says, "It’s helped us to relocate of just go anywhere starting over again. Plus, I like having the extra money to go and get new stuff in Valdosta where there are so many places you want to go and purchase stuff."
Local retail business owners say spending by military personnel accounts for almost 40 percent of their annual revenue, but the retail industry isn't the only type of business seeing this kind of spending.
Frank Pridemore, a business owner, says, "It filters down not just to home furnishings but restaurants, filling stations, service station people coming in. Many times they've been over seas for a long deployment and they need a new vehicle when they get home, so it affects a lot of different aspects of the Lowndes County economy."
Owners say while its great to see a boost in the local economy, the most important thing is that the troops return home safely. Business owners say the extra money helps them sell those high priced items during the slow shopping season.