Elmore County looks to bring in more retail development

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

Wetumpka, AL (WSFA) - The Economic Development Authority in Elmore County is knee deep in a plan to recruit new business to the area, namely retailers. The goal is to fill some gaps in Elmore County's retail landscape.

Workers at the Smokin 'S' Barbeque in Wetumpka were busy Monday serving up their signature hickory smoked pork.  While it's not hard to find a good place to eat in town, owner Tom Haynes knows from experience there's only so much you can do in Elmore County.

"There's probably a need for more recreation, and for bowling and stuff like that.  And I've always been partial to Publix, but you have to drive quite a long way to find one of those," said Haynes.

Elmore County has several retail gaps, which forces residents to take their business to surrounding communities. Executive Director of the Elmore County Economic Development Authority Barry Mask says there are many more.

"That includes sandwich shops, movie theaters, bowling alleys, clothes stores-- it's just an undeserved market," said Mask.

It's why they've reached out to Retail Specialists in Birmingham, who are in turn, reaching out to retailers who are successful in cities comparable to those in Elmore County.

Robert Jolly, President of Retail Specialists says, "We'll introduce Millbrook, Wetumpka, and Tallassee to those retailers, share the demographics and the research we have done, and try to recruit them to Elmore County."

With more retailers, they say, comes more tax dollars to support the county's infrastructure and bring in more traffic to existing businesses.

"If you have more establishments here, it will probably draw more people into the city," said Haynes.

Area Mayors and County Commissioners are now tasked with finding incentives to offer these interested retailers. The Economic Development Authority expects to have some significant retail announcements this summer.

Elmore County is second largest county in the River Region, according to the new census numbers.

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