• 64°

Retailer meeting beneficial for Troy

Staff Writer

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford left the International Conference of Shopping Centers’ meeting pleasantly surprised.

"I go to meetings and sometimes get in the car to drive home and think, ‘You know,

I’ve wasted my time," he said Tuesday. "But this conference was one of the most beneficial I’ve been to in a long time."

The conference, held in Birmingham, gave municipal leaders a chance to meet face-to-face with retailers and site developers from across the country. The officials, like Lunsford and Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage, seized the opportunity.

And Lunsford left with more than just a solid lead.

"We met with the representative of an upscale department store," he said. "They were reasonably familiar with Troy, but we were able to share some information with her and now we have a site visit."

The mayor declined to elaborate on the potential retailer or the site visit, saying the company wished to keep the discussions confidential at this point.

Lunsford said city officials are working now to "put all the pieces together" and coordinate the visit with retailers’ representatives and others, including representatives of the company which own potential sites, including the two locations formerly occupied by Wal-Mart.

Lunsford told city council members Tuesday that the city’s first priority is to "get something" in the most recently vacated Wal-Mart building in the Troy Market Place.

"We need an ‘anchor’ store there… something to hold all of the other businesses there before they start leaving," he told board members.

Lunsford also said on Wednesday that he had met with a woman who specializes in rehabilitating old Wal-Mart shopping centers. "She’s been successful in developing new centers (at these unoccupied locations)," he said.