Valdosta Daily Times


February 5, 2012

Business Wish List Results

VALDOSTA — The results are in from my very un-scientific poll on the businesses that people want to see come to Valdosta. After my comment last week that there seemed to be more requests for retail than restaurants, I was bombarded this week with restaurant suggestions, so I’m guessing even with an OG, readers aren’t quite satisfied yet.

It’s interesting to see how the suggestions turned out. And for the couple hundred or so who sent in suggestions, if you were the only one making it, it didn’t make the final cut, nor did those who suggested businesses that are very localized to another part of the country. But surprisingly, there are very few of those. The vast majority of respondents are all on the same page, so to speak, regarding the areas where Valdosta is still lacking. And these folks were very very vocal about some of the more pressing needs, one of which has been on every wish list I’ve compiled in the last 10 years.

The largest area of concern that did not have a specific business in mind, as the suggestions varied widely, is the lack of recreational activities for teens and young adults. The suggestions ranged from another bowling alley to a skating rink, go-cart tracks, an area with several activities in one safe, family-oriented place, like a go-cart track with a putt-putt course with a small restaurant with a gaming area. However, it is very obvious from reading the responses that safe, clean, relatively inexpensive, well-managed and maintained venues for this age group is a serious concern for parents.

Also, for those not aware which included me, there is apparently a Dunkin Donuts franchise located in the Wilco truck stop on Airport Road. It’s not a big one, but it is a Dunkin Donuts, so I left that one off the list. Perhaps if enough people go there, a larger one will come.

Ditto for the sports stores. Gander Mountain is supposedly signed for sure, and another large sporting goods store will be soon, so I also left those off the list since they are already in the works.

And the folks down in Lake Park pretty much want everything. Another grocery story, a Walmart, a bowling alley, etc., etc. And someone suggested that a casino would be a great business for this area to create jobs. Not sure if state law would permit it, but you never know.

I compiled the Business Wish List Top Ten and a list of honorable mentions, which received multiple votes but not enough to crack the top of the list. Commercial real estate brokers, real estate owners, officials with local governments, etc., take notes. Rarely does someone hand you a blueprint for businesses to woo and recruit.

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