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The business of community
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We spend a lot of time watching businesses come into the community. We watched with great anticipation while Publix was built. There are more banks, gyms and retail outlets going up. We have three McDonald’s locations around town. Rotary was packed to hear Paul Fletcher talk about Water Ways Township (formerly Genesis Point). The grand opening of Kroger was nothing short of spectacular. We are waiting with great anticipation to find out what business will occupy the old Kroger spot. Quite honestly, I am ready to start making up rumors about that one.

Businesses of all sizes create excitement, opportunity and options when they come into the community. However, the neatest thing is when the community gets into the business. Rarely is there a business that moves into town or grows up with it that remains an outsider. We just aren’t built that way. We are a community and businesses are a part of that. They are not just fixtures. More than an expectation, it is just natural for businesses to be community oriented.

We saw this at the Kroger opening Thursday. There were not bunches of new faces shipped in from an out of town headquarters. There was Linda Hurst, the store manager that opened the original Richmond Hill Kroger. The bakery is staffed with the cake decorators that have done numerous cakes for the celebrations of local residents. Jason was still there bagging groceries with a smile. Folks weren’t asking if they liked the new store - they were asking if they liked their new home. We admired the new building with the same people from the old.

Then we were treated to a grand Easter Egg hunt by Pastor Steve Lane and the New Beginnings Church. Out at J.F. Gregory Park, there wasn’t a spot of green not covered by plastic eggs stuffed with goodies. While it wouldn’t have happened without the church, I think the church would be quick to tell you it wouldn’t have happened without the outpouring of support from local businesses. After the welcome from Mayor Davis, Pastor Steve read a laundry list of businesses that contributed in some way to the success of the day. And they definitely deserve it. I didn’t see one child there not having the time of their life. That’s saying something considering the massive amounts of kids that were there.

And why wouldn’t they have great time? Numerous area businesses had candy and prizes hidden in different colored eggs. There were big bounce arounds for them to play in. The Easter Bunny was there and open for photo ops and hugs. None were cranky come lunch time. Wayne Jackson was there with his famous grill cooking up all the hamburgers and hotdogs the kids could eat. And he had help. There were builders and bankers flipping burgers and taking orders. It was an afternoon of community made comfortable by business.

We have an amazing dynamic in this community. Business and the people are intertwined and interrelated. Successful businesses have a successful community plan. They are involved, visible and dedicated to leaving the community better than when they found it. Maybe it is because they know it’s good for business. Maybe it’s because most of them live here too. I like to believe it is because they believe that what is good for them is to be good to the community. Whatever the reason is, I am glad for it. It is good for the town and it is good for the local economy. People like doing business with folks they feel a kindred interest with. That’s my thoughts on it. I would love to hear yours.

April Groves covers all things business for the Bryan County News. You can send thoughts, press releases, tips and questions you’d like answered to

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