Residents of Ponce de Leon came out in droves to speak out against the construction of a Family Dollar/Dollar Tree store during a Ponce de Leon Town Council workshop Jan. 5.
Former PDL mayor Sheena Hougland was first to speak on the subject.
â€œThis is not an issue with growth or with the Dockerys,â€ Hougland said. â€œThis is an issue with the particular business that is trying to come in. We need a different kind of business, not another dollar store. By all means, develop the property, but with another type of business.â€
Hougland drew up petitions for both inside and outside the town limits for residents to sign against the store coming to PDL and presented them to the council.
Resident Jenny Lewis echoed Houglandâ€™s viewpoint.
â€œWe want growth but we want something that will benefit our town, and this isnâ€™t another dollar store,â€ Lewis said.
While most spoke out against the business coming, others spoke in favor of it and others from a neutral standpoint. Michael Hurst says he doesnâ€™t think it needs to come but he isnâ€™t against it either.
â€œI have always shopped at Wayneâ€™s Grocery and always will support a small local business; it is what we do.â€ Hurst said. â€œWe shouldnâ€™t be saying don’t let them in because you are scared of competition when you shouldnâ€™t be.â€
Trey Perman, real estate developer with Perman Engineering, addressed the crowd concerning the construction of the Family Dollar store.
â€œWe live in America, and America was formed on a free market society, capitalism and competition, and that is a good thing,â€ Perman said. â€œCompetition encourages other businesses in the community to get their act together and clean up what they have going on and typically drives down prices for the competitors.â€
Perman went on to say the store would be larger than any other store in town with more handicap accessible parking spaces and will also bring 10 to 15 jobs to the town.
Angela and Daryl Dockery, of Dockery Land Holdings LLC, sold the 1.24 acres to Perman and are in favor of a business of any kind to come to PDL.
â€œI am only a land owner, I want what everyone in this room wants â€“ growth,â€ Angela Dockery said. â€œI want that commercial property to turn into something instead of sitting there being nothing. I would love to see many types of businesses come to our town. I would especially love a carwash. We have an industrial plaza that many do not know about. Why arenâ€™t you going after businesses to fill that up? If we want growth here, we have to go after it.â€
Wayne Mayo, owner of Wayneâ€™s Grocery says there is a difference between independents and corporations.
â€œI have 14 employees that I am fighting for because they want to live and work here too. I am not just fighting for myself,â€ Mayo said. â€œI don’t own 13,000 stores, I own one. We put back into our community, corporations donâ€™t.â€
The initial development order for the project was voted down by the council in a previous meeting and a new one has not yet been filed. The council is expected to vote on the issue in a future meeting.
The Ponce de Leon Town Council will meet again in regular session at 6 p.m. Jan. 10.