Why do we have so many gas stations?

Published 2:38 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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By Sarah Brown  – Managing Editor

Yes, we do have a lot of gas stations, and it seems like there is a new one being built everyday, but there is a lot more to our economic development of Cordele and Crisp that we may not recognize or see happening.

The hospital is one of the largest employers in our community, but there are many others that have 100 or more employees that can be affected by this lack of housing. When we spoke with Grant Buckley, the Executive Director of the Cordele-Crisp Industrial Development Council he said, “There is a fair amount of manufacturing for a community this size.” There are six major companies in Crisp County that have over 100 employees and have a big impact on our community; Harris Equipment, West Fraser, Helena Industries, Marvair, Big Tex and Goldens Foundry. These businesses were highlighted as the highest employment rates but the list does not end there for large businesses. Crisp County and the City of Cordele has, Stella Jones, ADM, McLane, Indian River, Griffin, and Express Disposal just to name a few.

Below is the County Labor Force Estimates from the Georgia Department of Labor. Workforce Statistics Division for that compares the state of Georgia to Crisp County.

County Labor Force Estimates
Preliminary February 2024
Revised January 2024
Revised February 2023
Laborforce Employment uneployment number/rate Laborforce Employment uneployment number/rate Laborforce Employment uneployment number/rate
Georgia 5,369,028 5,204,798 164,230 3.1 5,331,582 5,165,721 165,861 3.1 5,289,125 5,111,011 178,114 3.4
Crisp 10,184 9,847 337 3.3 10,153 9,782 371 3.7 9,644 9,231 413 4.3



Ricky Smith the CEO/Owner of Inspired Wealth Planning in Cordele an investment company in Cordele spoke on the affects of population when it comes to bringing big businesses in. An influx of population growth is necessary to attract the type of businesses we need and want. An example he gave was in Kathleen, Georgia where they had a large population growth and because of that a Publix was built to accommodate. Smith says, it takes a collective effort to make the growth happen, this collective effort would need to come from public-private partnerships “If it’s not equal it will not happen.”

Is growth a bad thing or a good thing for a community?

Growth is always good as long as it is the right type of growth when it comes to improving a community. Many of the large businesses in our community are constantly expanding and growing even without our knowledge and this growth can have a positive impact to the community. This impact can be through new employment opportunities or bringing in revenue to the city and county for further growth and development. As well, having these large businesses can be a good sign for other businesses that may be interested in coming to Cordele/Crisp. We may not see the gas stations as growth, but they do help the community through sales tax revenue. Again, it can be hard for businesses to grow without having the housing for employees to live, which was mentioned in part one of this series.

Could our view of Cordele and Crisp be the wrong view?

When we spoke with Steve Gautney, he mentioned the topic of self-image and how the communities’ image on itself could be improved through overcoming perceptions and selling ourselves a little better. Of course, we all want to see our community grow, but right now it is growing just not in the way we want to see. We all need to ask ourselves, what am I doing to improve and help our community?