Despite Walmart’s relocation from the north end of Elkin to 548 CC Camp Road off of I-77 several years ago, several businesses have risen up and many older businesses have seen increased economic output recently.
Label Shoppers opened up a new location about seven months ago next to where the old Walmart used to be.
“They are a chain branch that have many stores opened up,” said Jimmy Chappell, a north-end Elkin business owner. “We want them to stay.”
The old Taco Bell building at 2119 N. Bridge St. has been cleaned and rehabbed since the restaurant also chose to relocate to CC Camp Road. There have been several calls from companies and business owners to look at the building and work is being done to find a patron who will be just the right fit, Chappell said.
“We don’t want a revolving door going on with businesses using that property,” said Chappell. “We want someone who’s going to stay there and help bring businesses to the area for a long time. We just need to find just the right company.”
Another business owner, Terry Darnell, moved Pressure Washer Guru to the old ABC store building. According to Chappell, the move has been great for him as it has resulted in a rise of transits of people coming in for pressure washes and any kind of utility equipment maintenance.
An Advance Auto Parts store may be opening a location in the near future.
At present, no new businesses have moved into the former Walmart space.
“It’s hard to find something big to fill in that space,” said Chappell. “There just aren’t that many large corporations with needs to expand into the area at the moment.”
Since Walmart moved, the businesses in that area have enjoyed better economics than they ever had when the Walmart was there, Chappell said. The First Community Bank also has really picked up in business lately. He credited the lack of competition with the old Walmart as a contributor to the economic growth.
Chappell is also proud of the cleanliness of the area and the support of organizations in their contribution to keeping the streets and businesses trash free. Work has been done to rehab the area as much as possible.
Work is being done on the possibility of planning a spur trail to connect business between northern Elkin and downtown Elkin, which may become a spur of the E&A Rail Trail. The trail is still under planning and has not yet been approved by the town. The trail would extend from Circle Fitness to the old ABC Store.
The trail’s planning still has a way to go as permission is sought from land owners.
Chappell believes that the possible extension of a trail to the northern end of town would be beneficial in bringing some of the downtown culture to the area.
“Downtown has it all and we’re on the outside looking in sometimes,” said Chappell. “I’m trying to bridge a gap and get this trail stuff going up this way and maybe try to form another little park here in the area. The town has asked us about some of the old school property when the school was moved in 1982 and using that old property for a new fire department. The fire department is going through some growth and changes right now.”
Dr. Bill Blackley has stated that the Elkin Valley Trails Association (EVTA) is supporting the possible development of the trail but is not involved in the trail’s construction.
“It could be a loop of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail [also the E&A Rail Trail], but it is not the primary trail at this moment,” said Blackley with the EVTA. “The trail is being focused by Jimmy Chappell and his vision to connect sections of the trail between the northeast part of town and downtown Elkin is his doing.”
Chappell is pleased with the recent expansion of businesses in the northern end of town and believes it is a testament to the economy of Elkin.
“This end of town, to survive K-Mart and Walmart moving on, it shows how Elkin has a better economy than a lot of people believe,” said Chappell. “I truly hope that growth continues in the future.”
Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.