SMITHVILLE — Based on preliminary reports from a community needs assessment in Smithville, local residents want a grocery store followed by a drug store and an auto parts store.
That’s the challenge for the Monroe County town as it approaches the one-year anniversary for an April 2010 tornado that devastated it.
WTVA-TV reports most business owners who elected to stay or set up shop as soon as possible say they are seeing a profit. Still, they would like more businesses to arrive.
“Some other businesses we would like to see come into our community would be a grocery store and a drug store,” said Leigh Duncan, owner of Smithville Hardware.
“Obviously, a grocery store is very important to a community,” said Phil Prewitt, also a business owner. “Another business that would do well here would be definitely some rental property, you know, to rent out homes and things of that nature.”
The recent community needs assessment gave town leaders a chance to see what residents would like to see open in the near future.
They also are willing to provide that information to people outside of town considering a business in Smithville.
“It will be hard for me to put a business inside right now in town knowing that I had to depend on the population inside our city limits,” said Mayor Gregg Kennedy. “We included a six-mile radius around our town to show the population that does business here in Smithville.”
“This is one of the areas that can be a shining light for not only Monroe County but for the state of Mississippi,” said Prewitt.
The Stennis Institute at Mississippi State University is crunching the numbers from that survey.