Video: Smithville Continues Push For Local Grocery After Tornado
SMITHVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – We most-often hear about houses and churches being rebuilt after a natural disaster but what does it take to rebuild a business? For smaller towns, getting a business back is a big obstacle.
Smithville was nearly flattened on April 27, 2011.
The only grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, was destroyed and never rebuilt.
Town leaders are still pushing for a new grocer.
“That’s our dire need, is a grocery store,” said Smithville Mayor Gregg Kennedy.
Kennedy says it’s easier said than done to get a store back in town.
“We’ve had retailers come in, do their surveys. They come back and say ‘well Mayor, you just do not have the rooftops.’ Well I kind of know that because I lost 160 homes during a tornado,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy wants potential business-owners to look at the house count a few miles outside of the city limits when they do their surveys.
“What I begged some of the chains to do is, hey give us a 6-mile radius and lets look at those numbers and you’ll see. But I’ve done that with no avail,” said Kennedy.
Smithville has a Dollar General that carries a few grocery items but it doesn’t carry produce.
An expansion on the store has been discussed.
“But the need for veggies and fresh meats, that’s where an expansion on that would help. Or either a small grocery,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy says he’ll keep fighting for that extra area to be considered for retail studies.
“If they would give me a 6-mile radius, there’s not doubt we could have it. But right now, just inside the city limits, we don’t have enough to sustain a grocery store,” added Kennedy.
Kennedy says the owners of Piggly Wiggly chose not to rebuild after the tornado because of a business investment in Amory.