Economy showing growth in White County

By | November 25, 2002 12:00 am

Kim Swindell Wood
The unexpected tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001, gave Americans a sense of camaraderie, with a sudden surge in patriotism and strengthened religious beliefs. However, despite the negative financial publicity during the aftermath of this catastrophic event and the current threat of military repercussions overseas, White County’s economy is on an uphill swing.
According to Wallace Austin, president of Sparta-White County Chamber of Commerce, White County’s economy is thriving. “The unemployment rate is currently 5.6 percent, from the latest statistics issued in August,” said Austin. “This is a low figure.”
Several White County businesses have told Austin their revenues are excellent for this time of year. “If you want to make a comparison,” said Austin, “just compare the economy from now to what it was like during the 80’s. It’s as different as night and day. It’s a lot better.”
“We do realize some have been unfortunate and lost their jobs,” said Austin, “but overall, the economy comparatively is really good.”
Austin also said the sales tax collections have increased for White County. “The more money we have that is spent here, the more that stays here,” he said.
Several White County industries are expanding and new businesses are moving into the area.
– Preferred Logistics is expanding its operation, with an addition of approximately 50,000 square feet.
– Genlyte Thomas is adding a new line of production and is hiring additional employees to staff the line.
– Big Bend Technology has built an addition to their existing building and will be bringing in five more automated welders.
– Holland Fabrication is expanding its production with a new piece of equipment, which could possibly add four additional jobs. The new machinery will allow the business to perform specific procedures, which had previously been sent out-of-town.
– The new Fred’s Dollar Store is expected to open in January 2003. The business will have approximately 20,000 square feet of floor space and will employ 20-25 people.
– Huddle House has bought land on Highway 111, on the corner of Walker Cove Road, with plans to build the restaurant in the near future.
– The Wal-Mart Super Center will soon be breaking ground on Highway 111.
According to Austin, the local economy has seen positive gains, and White County is still on the road to new growth and development.

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