Residents welcome Wal-Mart

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 28, 2001

Features Editor

The rumor mill has been churning in Pike County for several weeks regarding an economic development project. The talk around the county was that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. had chosen Brundidge as the site for its newest distribution center. Most people thought it was too good to be true, some considered it hogwash and others were cautiously optimistic. After yesterday, no Doubting Thomas can be found in Pike County. Gov. Don Siegelman came to Brundidge to officially announce that Brundidge has been selected for a Wal-Mart distribution center, which will employ 600 people from the area and have an annual payroll of between $10 and $15 million.

It was a great day for Pike County and residents responded to the good news.

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"I was surprised, pleasantly surprised," said Lois Robinson, a retire school teacher. "This is going to be great for Brundidge, Pike County and the entire area. We are in dire need of jobs for our young people. Brundidge is a great place to live. Now, more of them will be able to find work at home and we won’t lose so many of our young people to other areas."

Sherell Brown, a student at Pike County High School, was also surprised by the announcement.

"This was the first I’d heard about it," he said. "I knew there was going to be an announcement, but I didn’t know it was going to be this big. I’m surprised that Wal-Mart is going to put something here. We’re so small. I didn’t think they would look at us, but I’m glad they did. It will give us a chance to get a good job."

Lawrence Bowden, a retired state employee, had been hearing Wal-Mart rumors for several months, but in recent weeks, the rumors seemed to be based in fact, he said.

"It’s hard to describe what the benefits of this will be to Brundidge and Pike County," Bowden said. "It will have a great economic impact on Pike County and the surrounding area. Here in Brundidge we have been without a good

tax base for a long time. The Wal-Mart distribution center will add much needed revenue in several ways. This will give Brundidge an opportunity to maintain our infrastructure and improve services. Having the distribution center here will also be an incentive for other business to locate here – especially restaurants and support businesses."

Linda Steed, a member of the Pike County Board of Education, said the distribution center will mean better jobs for people throughout the area and the additional revenue it generates will, hopefully, mean better schools and better services for the community.

"It should improve our economic tax base and, with additional dollars we should be able to improve our schools and provide other opportunities for all of our residents," she said. "I’m glad to know that the distribution center will provide so many opportunities for jobs right here at home. This is a good thing for Brundidge and Pike County."

Robert Bullock, a downtown merchant, said the influx of jobs and people to the area should be great for Main Street businesses.

"This is the greatest day in Brundidge," he said. "I’ve lived here all my life and this has got to be the greatest day. We should be so thankful to the Lord and all of those who worked so hard to make this happen. It took everybody working together and pulling together. This one thing is going to make Brundidge a better place to live and to work."