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Barrow County has 'Arrived'

Now I can shop and eat in Barrow County without having to drive east, west, north or south to find what I need.

With news coming at us from all sides during the election, someone suggested they would be glad when the election is over so we can hear other news. While it is true during the campaign we do hear about one position or candidate or another. After the election, with the twenty-four hour news cycle we will continue to hear about governments, worldwide, small and large.

In the middle of the news during this presidential election cycle, I have been given great hope with the announcement about expanded business openings in Barrow County. I am in the crowd of folks who love to drop by a fast food establishment and grab a quick meal to eat in the car on the way to my next speaking engagement, or just take it home for a  quick lunch or dinner. Great delight was mine when the folks who say they “did not invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich” came to our county. With the opening of new retail outlets at the intersection of 316 and 81, it is no surprise to see more eateries opening on the other end of the county from where I live. Much is being said about the expansion of the Winder City Limit and the increased revenue that is available to the city and county governments in and around the expansion of businesses in that part of the county. Increased excitement is being shared around town with the announcement that the Varsity hotdog restaurant is opening in the same area. There are many memories that have been made over the years at the various locations of the famous hotdog establishment.

Upon moving into this area many years ago, one of the first encounters east, over into Athens, was to stop off on the way home from shopping to load up with a Varsity hotdog. Over the many years since then, as often as possible, I have made it to several of the other locations of the Varsity in order to get to know other items on their menu. During this time there has always been the hope that one day we would “arrive” in Barrow County and get our very own Varsity. It was truly exciting for me when Chick-fil-A opened and I frequent them, but knowing that every menu needs variety I look forward to driving only a few feet up the same drive to get my needed fix from the Varsity. Please don’t think I am just singling out these two fine eating establishments today by ignoring others. To list all my favorite eating places in Barrow County would take more room than allowed in my column.

Now I can shop and eat in Barrow County without having to drive east, west, north or south to find what I need. From where I stand, it is good news that I can shop and eat in Barrow County without having to go into other counties as we continue to have good growth.

Will having the Varsity restaurant in Barrow County help our local economy? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Follow Ray Newman on Twitter — @RayNewmanSr. 

Marne M October 29, 2012 at 12:12 PM
I'm with you, Ray! I've been really encouraged by the growth along 316, not only the restaurants, but also the movie theater, the TJ Maxx, etc. I live in Statham, so it's not an inconvenience for me to drive to Athens, but I'd rather keep the money in my own county, when possible! I'd love to see them open up a Kroger to compete with the Publix too. It's exciting to see everything come together.
s mcmillon October 29, 2012 at 12:19 PM
I agree love having everything right here. Looking forward to the aldi to open in Nov. I drive to Athens often to visit the aldi and many other places.
Wanda Rice October 29, 2012 at 12:26 PM
While I agree it is good to see construction happening, thus signaling prosperity, I also cringe with the influx of large businesses. I came to Winder to leave the city...it is following me. I was really hoping to make this a permanent home, but I see that is not a possibility. I need the relatively close access of the VA offices but I don't want to live in urban/suburban areas. Again, I applaud the forward progress of the area but it just isn't for me.
Ray Newman October 29, 2012 at 12:29 PM
There was once a time when growth went elsewhere, now it is coming our way. We will all benefit from this type of good growth in the long run.
Debbie Kessler October 29, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Yes, as a Barrow County resident and local marriage coach, I see the addition of Ali, Shane's, and soon to be Varsity to our commerce as a benefit. Let's keep improving Barrow County and bring businesses that bring jobs for our good people of Barrow County. Good business' not only bring commerce, but bring jobs and jobs help men and women have higher self esteem which helps to improve the quality of their marriage and family life. I look forward to the growth for many reasons.
James McNamara October 29, 2012 at 02:19 PM
You'll have to pardon me if I don't view the development at 81 and 316 as positively as you. I see unrestricted growth as having a negative impact on the quieter way of life we enjoy in Barrow County. A drive through Gwinnett County will give you an idea of what will happen to Barrow County in the next 20 years unless something changes. . Nearly every major intersection has shopping centers or, at the very least, "convenience store gas stations", all of which breed that bane to a comfortable lifestyle, heave traffic. As to keeping the money in Barrow County, Publix is a Florida company, T.J. Maxx is a Massachusetts company, Target is headquartered in Minnesota and even the Varsity is an Atlanta company. Offhand, I can;t think of a single company at that intersection that is headquartered in Barrow County. So much for shopping local to keep the money in the county. . Yes, the wages go to local folks, but even there is a hitch - the real money, the corporate salaries go elsewhere. I would far rather see the growth attach itself to Winder than for Winder to attach itself to the growth. I applaud Aldi's for building a store in Winder. I even applaud Dollar General for building their new mart in Statham, although I wished they'd not had to strip the land bare to do it - there are several places within a few hundred yards that could have accommodated the new store.
John Wages October 29, 2012 at 02:42 PM
I moved to Barrow County in 2000 because of the growth in Gwinnett County. Thank you.
Jill October 29, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I love the growth we are experiencing. It prevents us from having to drive farther distances to get what we need...allows less time driving and being in the car to allow more home time to spend with our families. The stores may be corporate stores which in essence brings money to those other states as far as their bottom line, but they still charge 4% state sales tax and 3% Barrow County tax (with the exception of food items). They still have to acquire and renew their annual Barrow County Business License. There are still many ways that these businesses benefit our residence. I agree that I would not approve of Barrow County becoming as large as Gwinnett but we can improve our county and bring more busineeses here without going overboard.
Dan Nelson October 29, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I wish the people who are so happy about the growth of Barrow County would do the rest of us a favor and move to an area that has already grown instead of cheering on the fouling of Barrow County. We will end up being taxed right off of our own properties.
Jason Adamson October 29, 2012 at 11:20 PM
I have been here for 7 years, so I guess I am still new. But the fact is, if we don't embrace this growth it will pass the county by. Along with letting the growth pass by, you let tax revenue as well as local jobs pass by. This had been okay for decades, but it is time to let it go. If not, you will continue to drive on roads that needed repaving and restriping years ago and you will continue to see the primary residents of this county continuing to leave the county for work or else settle for lower wage incomes. If the growth is managed correctly, this can only be a positive for this county.
Jon dowe October 29, 2012 at 11:55 PM
old timers all ways scared of growth look what has happen to Dacula. But people should look at the property value and sell it for more than you bought it for especially people who bought the land in 1950s. lol! Then move further in the country. You should do it be for your kids do.

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