Business opportunities exist in local market

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 15, 2008

Brookhaven’s economy has been stable compared to otherMississippi cities. And while economic waters are becoming choppyeven locally, there is still hope on the horizon for theHomeseeker’s Paradise.

While new businesses like Snap Fitness and Waffle House havelocated in Brookhaven recently, other businesses are downsizing.Still, the market is ripe for new businesses, said Huddle HouseFranchise Development Director Jim Carr.

“Brookhaven is still a target market that we want to be in, sowe’re doing everything in our power to locate a restaurant there,”he said. “We find that in a community like Brookhaven there is alot of strength in local business people that are well connected,and that’s an avenue we hope to pursue.”

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While something like a Huddle House doesn’t seem that it wouldbe a large-scale addition to the job market, still the 20 to 25jobs it would provide would still bolster the local job market,said Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield. As a matter of fact, smaller employersare what has kept Brookhaven’s unemployment numbers from being asdismal as some of the other counties in the state.

“The existing small business network in Lincoln County is by farits largest employer,” he said. “This broad diversification hashelped to keep our unemployment numbers more steady as opposed tothe leaps some of our neighbors are experiencing with the economyas it is.”

Meanwhile, bringing more businesses into the area also insuresthat more money stays local, Brumfield said. Things may have takena downturn as the nation has slid into recession, but Brumfieldsaid the future of Brookhaven and Lincoln County is bright based onprevious progress.

“Brookhaven’s economy may be experiencing a bit of a case of thewhat the rest of the nation is going through, but we’re stillheaded toward a better future and as we move out of recession,” hesaid. “It’s my hope we’ll see our retail growth continue on thesame track as it was prior to these setbacks.”

Carr said the Brookhaven market is appealing because it has thesmall-town America feel that many businesses are looking for. Hesaid larger small towns generally have people who are familiar withnational names, which insures a new franchise success from theupstart.

“We chose Brookhaven for a possible new franchise locationbecause it’s a perfect match for Huddle House’s criteria in termsof population size and the lifestyle of area residents,” said Carr.”Communities like Brookhaven embrace our concept immediately,because they are familiar with our well-known brand in othersimilar towns.”

The city’s location on the Interstate 55 corridor is also apositive, Brumfield said. As Mississippi continues to grow,businesses will continue to plug into areas on its mainthoroughfares, and Brookhaven’s location on I-55 and Highway 84 isa plus.

“Our location on 55, as well as our demographics on personalincome and education levels, as well as the uniqueness of ourcommunity will continue to draw new businesses to the area,” hesaid.

Carr said that has been a major consideration as his company haslooked for new places to franchise.

“Because we already have a presence coming out of Memphis anddown I-55, we look at all the markets along the 55 corridor andit’s a natural transition to locate one in Brookhaven,” he said. “Ithink it makes a lot of sense and a business like ours can offersomething to the community.”