Sylvester small businesses fighting new Walmart - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sylvester small businesses fighting new Walmart

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Cindy's Flower and Gift Shop, Jacquelyn Clayton's family owned business Cindy's Flower and Gift Shop, Jacquelyn Clayton's family owned business
Daniel Nesbit, Sylvester-Worth Economic Development Authority Chairman Daniel Nesbit, Sylvester-Worth Economic Development Authority Chairman
Jacquelyn Clayton, Small Business Owner Jacquelyn Clayton, Small Business Owner
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SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) -

20 Sylvester business owners are banding together in a grass roots effort to keep the world's largest retailer from moving into town.

Walmart just purchased land in the Worth County Industrial Complex, but some small businesses worry they won't be able to compete with the retail giant.

The bell that welcomes customers to a small Sylvester flower store could soon stop ringing.

"I'm very concerned.  Not only for our business, but for our fellow business owners," said Jacquelyn Clayton, Small Business Owner.

Cindy's Flower and Gift's is Jacquelyn Clayton's family owned business.  She worries she could be forced to close when the world's largest retailer opens a Supercenter a few miles outside of town.

"I've seen the impact that Walmart has on business.  I look at Colquitt County, Moultrie for instance.  I can remember when Moultrie was a booming community downtown.  Now you go, it's like a ghost town," said Clayton. 

But the big box store could be a welcome relief to a county that's swimming in debt. 

"Number one, they're going to provide 73, I believe it is, new jobs in this area, which are greatly needed.  Secondly, this county is in dire straights.  Apparently, they need some funds, that that's a lot of sales tax," said Daniel Nesbit, EDA Chairman.

The announcement the retailer bought about seven and a half acres in the Worth Industrial Complex was confirmed after Tuesday's Worth County Board of Commission meeting. 

"I think the thing that upsets us the most as small business owners is the underhandedness of this whole thing.  We were assured they were not gonna come, so everybody relaxed and took a breath.  And then, 1st thing we know last Thursday it's announced that they are coming," said Clayton. 

But no one knows when construction begins.

"All we did was sell them a piece of land.  We didn't ask them to come and have a store by such and such time.  We sold them a piece of land, and they said that they're going to do it as soon as possible," said Nesbit.

And as the retailer begins to move in, Sylvester's small businesses say they're bracing for unmatchable competition.

Walmart paid $50,000 an acre for the land near U-S 82 and East Seabrook Drive.  The Economic Development Authority Chairman said he's hopeful the development will help the local economy grow.

Small business owners will hold an open meeting at 6:30pm on October 10th as part of their effort to try stop the retail giant from moving in.

 

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