Valdosta - Valdosta's retail pull factor is now the best in the state.
"For every $1.00 we spend, somebody else who doesn't live here is spending $1.02," says Mayor John Fretti.
"It just confirms Valdosta is a retail hub, people come to shop here on weekends, they come to places like Wild Adventures and spend time in our hotels and they purchase food at our local restaurants," adds Clifford Lipscomb, Associate Professor of Economics at VSU.
Retail sales have also skyrocketed, increasing by nearly 27% to bring in over two billion in annual sales for 2006.
"We are just pulling them in from all over like nobody else," Fretti says.
And a study just completed by some major universities says Valdosta's overall economy is booming, opposite of the national trend.
"We are doing a very good job of attracting retirees. We are also doing a really good job of attracting industries which helps bring people to the area which keeps the housing market strong," Lipscomb says.
Mayor John Fretti says it's the areas collaborative efforts that are making the city and all of Lowndes County so successful.
"It's all about relationship. Its how the chamber has helped, the industrial authority, the county, the airport authority, of course the city of Valdosta and how we lobby Atlanta and market ourselves," Fretti says. "We are so much stronger collectively then we could be individually."
And he knows those numbers will carry over for years to come.