Five new businesses will open by summer, and Grovetown's Gateway shopping center is hoping to score and outlet store as well. (April 11, 2011 / WRDW-TV)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday April 11, 2011
GROVETOWN, Ga.---Grovetown is the fastest growing city in our area. With more people, comes more places for them to spend their money.
About six new businesses are set to open in a few months at The Gateway, and that's not all. Restaurants, a furniture store, a cell phone shop, and an event facility will soon be a reality but county developers say an outlet mall could be right behind them.
Ramona Gaddy used to drive much farther to shop for her family. Now she drives minutes to the new Gateway.
"We watched every week to see when the grand opening was gonna be and we shop here weekly. Just really nice having it opened here," explains Ramona.
You should take a good look at The Gateway now, because soon it may look a lot different.
The sounds of construction are already taking over as census numbers show Grovetown is just about busting at the seams.
"The rooftops indicate they need a place to go shop for groceries, food clothing, the whole thing," says Richard Harmon, the Columbia County Director of Development Services.
Five new businesses will be open later this year. A Weinberger-owned furniture store, a Verizon Wireless, Great Clips, Arby's, and Mi Rancho are working on the final touches.
"From the Walmart then it branched out, now you've got a furniture store, restaurants and then the other retail just comes right behind it," explains Harmon.
The county is hoping one thing that comes right behind it is an outlet mall.
"It is a good location, the time is right for something like this and that possibility is there," Harmon says.
A county survey received nearly 8,000 responses. Almost half supported an outlet mall and didn't live in Columbia County.
"I think that would be wonderful. I think it would bring nothing but revenue to the town and there would be more exciting things to come and see and do here," says Ramona.
"People want to spend their retail dollars here in Columbia County. They don't want to spend them anywhere else," adds Harmon.
Ramona is looking forward to making her shopping trip even easier. "To have something that was just 3-5 miles from your home I think would be wonderful. I think growth is absolutely great," she says.
The county also bought up 50 acres of prime Gateway real estate and plan to develop it into a trade and events center. The 47,000 square foot building will also house a new Family Y. It will operate out of part of the building.
County leaders say right now the chance for an outlet mall is about 50/50, but the more the economy rebounds, the numbers get better.
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