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Thomasville making way for more workers in community

City working on housing solutions
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Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 18:24:21-04

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — New businesses, large and small, are opening up in Thomasville. Those businesses are bringing new career opportunities to South Georgia.

Like many communities across the country, housing for new workers is becoming a challenge. City leaders are creating more space for families while pushing the economy forward.

“We are ready to open new businesses,” said April Norton, Managing Director of Marketing and Communications for the City of Thomasville.

Her goal is to develop the area's economy.

“There are so many incentives for opening a business in downtown Thomasville,” Norton added.

Over the last year, the downtown area has seen $30.9 million in private and public investment, “bringing in close to 60 new job opportunities." Norton said. "That’s really key. It’s creating jobs.”

She also said they have had about 9 businesses open up in the last year in the downtown area. Lilly & Co. is one of them.

“We’re still fairly new. We’re so excited. We’ve had a great response,” explained Abbi Harvard. She works at the clothing store. “I was born and raised here.”

The shop opened in October of 2021. Despite the challenges of inflation and supply chain issues, Harvard said they’re thriving. “We love new customers. It’s nice meeting those people.”

She’s expecting an influx of even more new customers in the years to come.

“You’ll see some expanding industrial, small business. It’s happening, really, every day,” added Andrew Goodwin. He is business development manager for the city. He works to market the area to larger companies around the world.

“Thomasville has a tremendous workforce. We have strong educational presence in Thomasville,” Goodwin explained.

Now, that workforce is taking up more and more housing space in the area.

“We are actually in the process of multiple multi-family apartment complexes. You’ll see quite a few subdivisions coming online,” Goodwin said.

City leaders are also considering options for more second-floor housing development in the downtown area. All of this to make way for future hires at Check Mate, a handgun magazine manufacturer which relocated to the area in 2019. They have been growing ever since. Ashley Furniture is also bringing new business to town.

“It’s been such a great partnership, that they just broke ground on their 150,000-sq ft distribution facility in our business park,” Goodwin added.

They’re finishing up work on new development called 1915 South.

“It’s really started to create a domino effect on revitalizing the West Jackson Street corridor from our downtown heading into Tallahassee,” Goodwin said.

Now, leaders hope even more business will bloom in the Rose City.

The city says Thomasville is home to over 120 existing industries. The downtown area alone has more than 70 shops and restaurants. The census bureau shows the city’s population is growing with 18,881 residents as of April 1, 2020. Compare that to the 18,413 residents reported in 2010.