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Bucking the trend

Pike County isn’t following the national trend economically, and it hasn’t for a while.

And that’s good news, according to Marsha Gaylard, president of the Pike County Economic Development Corp.

“We’re not dependent on one industry sector,” Gaylard said, adding that the diversity of the economy contributes to its stability.

Even as news of the closing of Goody’s Family closing rocked the community earlier this month, Gaylard emphasized the diversity of Pike County’s economy should help it weather the current national slowdwn.

“When one industry sector is down, there are others that keep the economy on key,” Gaylard said, emphasizing that the PCEDC officials have worked diligently to recruit a diverse range of industries to the county. That base includes the Wal-Mart Distribution Center, Sikorsky Support Services, Lockheed-Martin, Sanders Truck Lines, KW Can and KW Plastics, as well as agriculture and food manufacturing.

Other companies are expanding as well, Gaylard said, citing Southern Classic Food in Brundidg, Supreme Oil in Brundidge and Sikorsky, has been expanding throughout the past year.

And, she said the Wal-Mart Distribution Center has not experience much turnover during the past year. “We have a lot of companies that will hopefully be able to weather the bad economy,” Gaylard said.

Still, economic development officials recognize the void left by the closing of Goody’s and are actively working to recruit new retailers to the market.

“We are researching department stores that we are a match for,” Gaylard said. “We are contacting the matches to see if they are expanding.”

Gaylard said recruiters are letting potential retailers know what space is available and are seeing if they have an interest.

“Our hope is that there is a good strong match for Troy’s criteria,” Gaylard said.

Goody’s was a successful business in Troy during its time, and officials hope that potential retailers will see ths a reason to come to Troy, Gaylard said.

As the nation struggles through a recession, Pike County’s economy is markedly more stable, but Gaylard emphasized that Pike County is “not recession proof.”

And because of that, this is a time when Pike County residents need to stay focused on supporting the businesses in this county. Supporting local businesses will help them survive the weathering economy, Gaylard said.

In addition, the PCEDC is launching a new Web-based database to help local businesses. The database will house information about the products and services of all county and statewide business. Through the site, local companies can see what goods and services other local companies provide and, hopefully, choose to do business with their in-state or in-county suppliers.

Companies will be able to list products and services, so potential customers will have easy access to information.

“Companies can cut transportation costs since it’s instate, if they find a local company,” Gaylard said.

If companies utilize this service, more money can stay either in Pike County or at least in the state of Alabama, Gaylard said. Once everything is setup, PC-EDC will hold a seminar for county industrial leaders to show them how to effectively use the new technology.