New Chelsea stores equal better city services for all

Grand opening signs can be seen from almost any angle on U.S. 280 in Chelsea, and local leaders and residents are beginning to see the benefit from the extra cash registers.

Every time someone buys something at the new Shoe Department, Dollar Tree or Wal-Mart they will be &045;&045; in at least a small way &045;&045; contributing to services provided by the city.

&8220;It [retail growth] is what is allowing us to do the talking and planning for better services for our people,&8221; said Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven said. &8220;Additional fire hydrants are a great example of that. We were able to put that plan into motion because of the anticipation of more revenue from Chelsea Crossings and Wal-Mart.&8221;

In recent months, the city has acquired a long list of new retail and commercial developments.

Along with Wal-Mart, a Region&8217;s Bank, Quizno&8217;s, Dollar Tree, Shoe Department and Cato Fashions have moved in.

Stacy Walkup, director of the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce, said the advances in Chelsea will benefit the county as a whole.

&8220;As south Shelby County grows, it is exciting to see these bigger companies come in,&8221; said Walkup. &8220;That is sort of a new frontier because many of our towns are bedroom communities.&8221;

Jack Howard, a life-long resident of Sterrett, said businesses popping up in Chelsea will benefit those in smaller surrounding communities as well.

&8220;It&8217;s about 10 miles any which way I go so it&8217;s great because I won&8217;t have to go across the mountain,&8221; Howard said. &8220;I spend most of my money at Wal-Mart, but I love the Dollar Tree too and am looking forward to possibly having more restaurants to go to.&8221;

Niven said he himself is glad to see things coming to fruition. &8220;Everything is beginning to move at a high pace along 280, and we are beginning to see rewards of all of the hard work over the last 10-11 years,&8221; Niven said.