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New store hopes to boost small town

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 6:41 PM EDT
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BRAXTON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The town of Burnsville is excited to be getting its first new business in years, following an effort to figure out what the community wanted to bring to the area to promote growth.

A Dollar General is set to open by the second week in September after breaking ground on Tuesday. Community leaders worked for years to get a store to come to the town of only 500 people, including a petition signed by residents.

The goal is to allow people to buy food and other essentials close to home, and avoid the 30 minute drive to Flatwoods or Sutton. The new store will be right in the middle of town and offer fresh and frozen grocery items.

“It is going to be a blessing for the community,” City Clerk Pam Wine said. “We have a lot of elderly folks that aren’t always comfortable getting on the interstate and driving somewhere. We have a lot of lower income people that might not have the means to get to somewhere, like Walmart or wherever. So, it is going to be very well received and, I’m sure, a very busy store.”

Wine said more than 400,000 people drive through the town each year to get gas off Interstate 79 or to visit Burnsville Lake. However, without any stores or restaurants in town, they are missing out on a great opportunity.

The town is now looking to open other businesses to go along with the Dollar General and attract more people to the area that’s located between Charleston and Clarksburg.

“We think this is a location that has got everything that Putnam County had 30 or 40 years ago and people discovered,” Del. Brent Boggs (D-Braxton) said after Tuesday’s ceremony. “We want them to discover this area in central West Virginia, as well, and this kind of development is a start.”

“We want to give people a reason to get off (the highway),” Boggs said. “Feel safe when they get off, and once they get off, we think they are going to find out that they are coming into an area that is very livable, places to visit. Maybe even they want to locate here. That’s what we’re after.”

Business owners, such as David Ramsey, are hopeful to get a boost in customers with more people coming to town for the Dollar General. Ramsey is expecting a 20 percent increase in his sales after the store opens, and said it’s nice to see something open in town after so many businesses left.

“Local people, who live right in town, will be able to walk here and get things,” Ramsey said. “It will save not only in gas, but time, and time is money.”

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