U.S. 80 growth adds options to Demopolis retail scene

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 15, 2006

In addition to the new Wal-Mart Supercenter, Demopolis has welcomed five new stores and two ‘new and improved’ retailers to Highway 80 West.

Along with a relocated Cato Fashions and Shoe Dept., the city now has a Dollar Max, a Check Into Cash, and a second beauty supply, which the name says is Golden, along with its second nail salon, Nails ‘n’ More. But most unique to the city is a video-game player’s dream, GameStop.

The store sells new and used video game supplies ranging from consoles and games to tip magazines and accessories, but in addition to a new game retailer, it also brought a new resident to the city.

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When the Demopolis GameStop opened, Danny Austin transferred from the Hoover store to “The City of the People.”

“There’s more traffic in Hoover, but everything else is pretty much the same. It’s nice because of convenience. I don’t have to get on highways to get everywhere,” Austin said. “I didn’t think it would be as busy in this area – no one did- but we are. I guess it’s because a lot of our customers were going to Meridian or Birmingham, and now we are here.”

Since its opening approximately two months ago, the Demopolis GameStop has been rated one of the franchise’s top stores.

“We were rated number six in the region of six surrounding states,” Austin, whose been working for the company for seven months, said. “That’s based off performance sales-wise and the managers taking care of their responsibilities.”

But with eight stores bringing new revenue to the city, Demopolis Chamber of Commerce president Kelley Smith is still trying to get them to join the Chamber.

“At this time, none of the businesses are members,” Smith said, “But we are in the progress of trying to get them to join.”

Smith said she has been in contact with the new business owners, as well as, trying to reach out to businesses that have not renewed their membership in the past year.

“Now is a good time to join the Chamber. We offer a nice little advertising package that would cover more advertising than the cost it takes to join,” she said. “They would also be invited to various Chamber events, like the Chamber breakfasts, the Chamber After Hours, and, of course the annual banquet. We also have workshops and send informational mailings about the pressing issues. A few years a ago, a big deal for area businesses was the tax increase.”

Smith said the Chamber board is also looking at adding more incentives in attempts to increase membership.

“We are exploring adding benefits and possibilities,” Smith said, “We are looking into member-to-member benefit programs.”

Benefits and incentives aside, Smith said the Chamber serves as a “collective voice” for its members and the group is more than willing to support the city’s new businesses.

“We do look forward to them joining us,” she said.