Hinesville Businesses Relieved by BRAC News - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/13/05

Hinesville Businesses Relieved by BRAC News

Teresa McCoy cleans a lot of uniforms. Teresa McCoy cleans a lot of uniforms.

Nationwide, the BRAC proposal to close bases will have a huge financial impact on affected communities and will claim 29,000 civilian and military jobs. Luckily they won't be in our communities like Hinesville.

Even though much of the community wasn't too worried about Fort Stewart, they really couldn't relax until they heard the news today. No one was happier than Hinesville's business community.

"The biggest majority of the business is from Fort Stewart," said Teresa McCoy of Quality Dry Cleaners, one of dozens of dry cleaners on Gen. Screven Way.

She says between all of the uniforms they clean as well as the hundreds of military alterations, without Fort Stewart, business life in Hinesville would be nonexistent.

"I think Hinesville would die," she told us. "I think a lot of the stores would close. Lot of the small businesses especially."

Barber David Harper agrees. "When the guys aren't here, it's just dead."

He says Fort Stewart accounts for 70 percent of his business. "A lot of the businesses are structured for the military," he told us.

Even Third ID soldiers admit Fort Stewart is not only beneficial to the Hinesville community, but to their families.

"It helps family members, too," said Sgt. Tommie Dobbs. "Soldiers' spouses and stuff, it gives them jobs."

Although other bases are closing around the country, Teresa McCoy says that means good news for Hinesville. "They're bringing in other military bases--so rumor has it--so I think there'll be some expansion with that," she said.

A few businesses we spoke with said they've been waiting to expand until much of the Third ID returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, and they say today's news will definitely get the ball rolling.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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