Indicators may show slump but not all is slumping

Published 11:35 am Monday, May 3, 2010

While city sales tax totals unfortunately remain in a slump andunemployment may be above 10 percent, pockets of prosperity in thearea continue to offer hope for brighter economic days ahead.

In Lincoln County, Great Southern Wood Preserving opened inFebruary and is reportedly doing quite well. And Rex Lumber,another wood-related operation at the former Columbus Lumber site,is expected to open in 2011 and have around 100 employees. Friday,a ribbon cutting was held for a new downtown men’s store, anotherchanged ownership hands a few months ago. Also opening its doorsrecently was a chained-owned girl’s clothing store and King’sDaughters Medical Center is expanding its health and fitnessoperations.

Furthermore, the community learned this past week that a newbusiness is expected to come in and occupy the former SpecialtyMinerals Inc. facility in the Industrial Park. More details aboutthat activity are expected to be revealed at Monday’s supervisorsmeeting and an Industrial Development Foundation meeting thatafternoon.

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Elsewhere – but still a benefit to Brookhaven – Reed’s Metals hasopened a satellite facility in Sulfur, La. The metal manufacturingoperation is serving Louisiana and Texas customers while no doubtfunneling some revenue back to company headquarters in LincolnCounty.

Other positive, but perhaps less visible, business and industryendeavors are also being undertaken in the area. And still othersare only waiting on a little nudge from a better economic futureforecast to get started again.

Jobs creation fuels spending which can bring money back to localgovernment coffers in the form of sales tax revenue. Andremembering to shop locally can go a long way toward minimizingsales tax deficits.

Yes, sales tax collections may be down and unemployment may be up,but that by no means suggests that Brookhaven, Lincoln County andSouthwest Mississippi are out. There are signs of an improvingeconomic picture across the country and, with the proper positiveattitude, there is no reason to think this area cannot share inthat recovery.