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Positive growth noted in area

Positive things just keep happening in the Camellia City, says Butler County Commission for Economic Development Director Ricky McClaney.

McClaney spoke to members of the Greenville Lions Club on Monday and shared some details of the continued economic growth seen in the area, including Hyundai’s Tier I and Tier II suppliers.

&uot;HYSCO is now up to 70 employees and should see 125 employees when at full production. The rail spur should be completed by October 1…Hwashin has 155 full-time employees, 55 temporary ones and 45 technicians, which adds up to almost 260 people,&uot; McClaney said.

The original employment numbers said to be needed at Hwashin by the end of 2005 were 250 employees. McClaney said the projected number of Hwashin employees needed to meet Hyundai’s needs by the end of the year now stands at 350.

&uot;Hyundai will be producing four models at its Hope Hull plant instead of just the Sante Fe and the Sonata. So, you are going to see production ramp up very soon with our suppliers,&uot; McClaney said.

McClaney stressed the importance of being positive in one’s future outlook in terms of the local community and its growth.

&uot;A few years ago, who would have thought Greenville would have 35 Korean families living here, and many Korean technicians here more or less full time,&uot; he said, adding, &uot;We even have a restaurant [White Oak] preparing three Korean-style meals a day.&uot;

McClaney also commended REF and Paul Flubacher for the company’s comeback after a devastating fire, and said both REF and CorStone had added jobs to their payrolls.

He also promised &uot;positive things are going on&uot; with both the former Wal-Mart building and the soon-to-be-vacated Winn-Dixie building at Interstate Plaza, but declined to give any further comment.

McClaney said Movie Gallery’s present location in Gateway Plaza, to be vacated when the business moves to the new shopping center next to Ruby Tuesday, has already been leased, as has the former Merle Norman location in the same shopping center.

McClaney also said things are looking &uot;very promising&uot; for Cabela’s, a company catering to all aspects of the outdoor life, to build one of its large retail outlet stores in Greenville.

&uot;Since Bass Pro Shops is going into the Montgomery area, [Cabela’s] has lost interest in putting a store there. It appears the Birmingham area location was going to be too pricey, real estate-wise. So we have a very good shot,&uot; McClaney said.

The BCCED director said a Greenville Cabela’s store would bring some 400 jobs to the area, generating approximately $60 million in sales. &uot;The average person is said to spend about four-and-a-half hours on a visit to the store, it's a real destination,&uot; McClaney said.

McClaney believes the store would be a good fit for the city and the state.

&uot;There is a tremendous interest in outdoor activities here…Alabama is the fifth largest state in terms of hunting and fishing, and per capita, we are number one,&uot; he said.

&uot;If this goes through, we would have the only Cabela’s store, other than the one being constructed in Louisiana, in this part of the country,&uot; Mcclaney added.