Rumors and reality, entirely different things

Published 12:49 pm Wednesday, November 12, 2003

By By Connie Nowlin Managing editor
It never fails to amaze me that the hardest thing to kill is a rumor. Well, a rumor and a cockroach, but that is another column.
Here's what happens. Someone is passing through on I-65, and stops for fuel at the 54 exit. Guy who takes the payment notices the Six Flags T-shirt the driver is wearing and asks, 'So, you work for Six Flags or something?' and the driver says, 'Yeah, in real estate.' Guy who works at the gas station says, 'Atmore would be a real good place for a Six Flags.'
The driver wants to be polite, so he says, 'Yeah, sure would.'
So, after the car is back on the interstate, the guy who works at the station is telling everyone that someone who works at Six Flags was in Atmore, scouting locations.
So the next week, every one in town is speculating on where the theme park will be built, and when. The driver of the car probably bought the T-shirt at a yard sale.
But the rumor will go on for the next 20 years or so.
Meanwhile, though, here is some economic news you can take to the bank.
Whether it has anything to do with the federal administration is anyone's guess, but the economy is starting to show signs of life.
The gross national product is up, the amount of goods made in the nation's plants is up, the stock market is stable and the job market has improved.
That is the national picture.
But in Atmore, there are stirrings as well.
A former 7-11 store is being renovated to be a distribution warehouse.
Maxwell, Haley and Castleberry is undergoing an exterior face lift.
Suds N Duds is getting ready to move into new digs in the old Pleasant Trees building.
Dean's Drive-in is getting a new paint job.
Now, none of these will replace the jobs lost when Vanity Fair closed, but everything has to start somewhere. Any sign of business doing better is a good sign. And paint and bigger, newer buildings are also good signs.
It means that those businesses are making a little money and intend to be in business long enough to make back the investments being made.
So what can you do to help spur this town?
Shop at home, whether for a bottle of aspirin or a new car. Every thing helps.
Sure, there are things you can't get here, but as long as you continue to buy out of town, nothing will change. To create more jobs, make more money float around and roll over in the economy here by spending it here first.
It will work. The town can come back. Not overnight, for sure. It won't be fun or easy. It will require leadership and patience and perseverance.
But I don't believe it is all over for this town, either, in spite of the rumors.
Connie Nowlin is managing editor of the Atmore Advance and may be reached at 368-2123 or email at

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