COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - New businesses are coming to the Midtown shopping plaza in Columbus, and this new change is expected to provide the community with new opportunities, jobs and more. Officials are saying this can help rejuvenate the community while supporting the city's sales tax and more.
Four new stores coming into the plaza are Bealls Outlet, Shoe Carnival, Dollar Tree and Ross. Midtown Inc. told News Leader 9 these stores are expected to open by early next year.
Patricia Napier, 22, sells watermelons and other fresh fruits on Macon Road in front of the Midtown shopping center every day. She's been coming out to the shopping center for three years now, and Napier is excited to see new businesses come into the plaza.
"I think it'll be really good," Napier said. "It'll be good for people who have to go across town to shop. I think it's a good change."
Planning Director Rick Jones explained many business owners are looking to move into both Cross Country and Midtown shopping centers mainly because of the convenient location.
"It's got great transportation system with an interstate and major highway right next to them," Jones said. "You also have great neighborhoods that surround the area. It's easy to get to, and you can basically get everything you need in one spot."
Jones said the area never lost its significance, but it had its slow days in the past as well.
"I think it's still a vibrant place that people to be," Jones said. "The area may have experienced a little bit of a decline, but I don't think it was to the point where everything was completely vacant or no longer important to the community. I don't think we ever lost that emphasis. Things were slow particularly for the Midtown shopping center because it was in a floodplain area. Workers had to get that fixed to provide safety and opportunities for businesses to come. But it's all well now, and we have four businesses moving in. It says a lot about the vibrancy of the community."
Jones said this will allow local residents to shop here at home without having to travel to other cities to find what they are looking for.
"It certainly supports our tax base in terms of dealing with sales tax and things like that," Jones said. "And it can save our residents gas money and more. With all the investment opportunities going on in this area, this will not be the last renovation project. Residents can expect to see more changes and investments take place in this part of the community in the near future as well."
Napier said she's excited to see the changes the new stores will bring to the area and the positive impact it could bring to her business.
"I'd still like to see more retail stores and restaurants in the area," Napier said. "I think it will help our sale since more people will be passing by us."