Grocery store may signal future economic growth for East Walker
by Rachel Davis
Mar 29, 2012 | 3131 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cashiers and baggers stand at the ready Wednesday during opening day for the Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Dora. There was a steady stream of customers who were excited to shop at the store. Photo by: Melanie Patterson
Cashiers and baggers stand at the ready Wednesday during opening day for the Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Dora. There was a steady stream of customers who were excited to shop at the store. Photo by: Melanie Patterson
slideshow
DORA — For years, the shopping centers that surrounded Highway 78 in Dora and Sumiton were the hub of activity in East Walker County. Then, as businesses folded or moved, the area seemed more like a ghost town than a bustling retail area. The final straw seemed to be the closing of Food World three years ago.

The parking lot of the Dora shopping center was packed with cars Wednesday, as the city’s new grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, opened.

“That’s what we want, that’s what we hope to see,” Dora Mayor Chris Edwards said. “Hopefully, we’ll fill up our shopping center, then Sumiton will fill up their’s next. We want it to feel like it did in the 90s. We want it to be a hub of East Walker again. I want that to be the place to go.”

Piggly Wiggly joins Dora Cafe and Hibachi Sushi Buffet in the shopping center, which also houses the Dora branch of First Bank of Jasper, Premier Health Center and Dora Discount Pharmacy.

Other businesses have taken notice, Edwards said city hall has received calls about the empty spaces that remain in the shopping center.

“I know it’s going to be good for that shopping center. It’s going to bring new businesses in,” Edwards said. “Somebody who is wanting to put a business in, if they go up there at lunchtime and see that the parking lot is full, they’re going to want to locate there next.”

The revitalization of the shopping center was a pet project for the mayor and council, who took office just as Food World closed its doors.

“There was a lot of effort on our part, as far as going after businesses, and letting them know that Dora is a viable place for them to be in business and presenting a receptive partnership to prove that we want businesses to come here and succeed,” Edwards said. “We’ve got businesses here in our city that weren’t here four years ago. We’ve counted about 12 businesses that have come into Dora since we’ve come into office. The sales tax is actually increasing again. Just looking at our numbers, they are increasing and that lets me know that better days are coming for Dora.”