Four Star to be a boost for our community

Published 12:39 pm Thursday, May 23, 2019

People who travel along I-85 between Montgomery and Atlanta probably think of the Valley from what it looks like at exit 77. On the north side of the road, there’s a big fireworks building, sometimes with a King Kong-sized inflated gorilla on top, a really nice Hampton Inn & Suites and an airport where there’s some major construction underway. On the south side, King Auto Corner makes a big impression with an impressive number of vehicles for sale.

Before the end of the current year, the south side portion of I-85 will be making an even bigger impression in the way of vehicles on display. By then, Four Star Freightliner’s new store should be open. Plans are to have some beautiful new trucks — the really big ones — in plain view of anyone heading north or south on this busy interstate.

Having a new business like Four Star Freightliner will be a boost to our community. It’s a growing company that does good business and pays its employees well. Hopefully, many of those employees will be living in the local area and those salaries will be turning over in the local economy. For guys in high school, the word is out. Learn how to be a diesel mechanic and you can get a job while young that pays over $30 an hour. If you can do that, Four Star needs you.

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Freightliner is one of the most respected names in trucking. Having that name here will be an asset.

Four Star Freightliner’s Valley location will be the company’s seventh store. Other locations are in Montgomery and Dothan, Tallahassee, Florida, and in Albany, Tifton and Valdosta in Georgia. The company employs more than 100 people.

At a Wednesday morning groundbreaking ceremony, it was pleasing to hear Four Star representative Jerry Kocan describe Valley as a gem of a location and that the company was very excited to be coming here.

This could be the start of a wave of future industrial and commercial growth that could be coming this way. The I-85 corridor is an opportunity zone, or an area targeted for development. A series of land purchases more than the past several years has the city in great shape to be bringing in more new business and industry in the coming years. Prospects like to talk to land owners when looking for new sites. At exit 77, there’s one owner, the city, has 1,150 acres ready for development off the interstate.

The best news we’ve had recently is at a location several miles off I-85.

That would be John Soules Foods, which will be locating in an existing building off Towel Avenue in Valley.

The 266,000-square-foot former distribution center for West Point Home will be a chicken and beef cutting and repackaging plant that will employ more than 500 people.