Valdosta retail sales higher than Albany's - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta retail sales higher than Albany's

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October 8, 2003

Albany -- Valdosta is Georgia's newest metropolitan region, and is already flexing it's muscle with strong buying power. In fact, Valdosta's buying power has moved ahead of Albany's area. Valdosta leaders think "Winnersville's" growth is just starting.

Valdosta stores stay busy. The Valdosta metropolitan area includes Lowndes, Brooks, Echols, and Lanier Counties. In 2002 the Valdosta region had more than one- point -six billion dollars in retail sales. By comparison, Albany's region retail sales, made up of Dougherty and Lee Counties, was 230 million dollars less.

Myrna Ballard of the Valdosta Chamber of Commerce said "The impact of I-75 and all of the tourists and visitors who travel through our community each day, and stop and spend money on their way through. Or while they are here doing business or visiting with Wild Adventures, that certainly helps retail sales."

2003 predictions for the Valdosta region retail sales are lower, but still above Albany's predicted sales. Albany leaders say they see economic growth in South Georgia as good news for the entire region. Albany Chamber of Commerce President Tim Martin said "Albany has been the Capital of retail sales in South Georgia for many, many years. Fact that Valdosta has high retail sales points to again the strengthening South Georgia economy, something we're very excited to see."

And Valdosta sees their growth just starting. Ballard said "we have seen a lot of additional and increased activity just in the last few months since metro status for Valdosta has been announced."

Valdosta's metropolitan status and bigger buying power figures could signal the start of "Winnersville" being seen as South Georgia's major city.

Both Valdosta and Albany officials warn that the Base Realignment and Closure Committee could have the biggest affect on economic growth. If Moody Air Force Base or the Albany Marine Logistics Base were designated for closure, it would dramatically affect the city's economic future.

posted at 4:07 PM by jimw@walb.com