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      Update: New East Albany Wal-Mart's impact on small businesses

      Teresa White-Franklin manages Simply Fashions: A clothing store located in a shopping plaza across from the new Wal-Mart in East Albany. She says she TMs not worried about the new store taking away her business.

      I don't think it's going to hinder us at all. I think it's going to be a great opportunity for us here in this location, says White-Franklin.

      She says loyal customers and new foot traffic created by the new Wal-Mart will keep her business running.

      They're happy that we got a Simply Fashions over in this location as well. We have one on Oglethorpe but they're very excited about this location here on Cordele Road, says White-Franklin.

      Numerous mom-and-pop shops have been opening up in Downtown Albany to help reestablish the area, but should they be concerned about the East Albany Wal-Mart putting a halt on their growth?

      We knew it was coming and let me tell you something, we do have a loyal base and we're offering something totally opposite of Wal-Mart, says Small Business Owner B.J. Fletcher, who helped establish stores such as the Downtown Fresh Market. "Our products are a little bit better than what they've got on their shelf, because we've been shopping around looking to see what they have

      Fletcher says she TMs not at all intimidated by the mega-store TMs "everyday low prices."

      At the Fresh Market we don't have a middle man. At Verge we don't have a middle man, at the consignment shop. So believe it or not our prices are going to be lower than Wal-Mart because we don't have a middle man, she says. Fletcher says the fact that they deal with farmers directly at the Fresh Market helps keep her prices low.

      Fletcher says she is glad the new Wal-Mart is bringing tax revenue and jobs to the East Albany area.

      Go to the new Wal-Mart support them because they're putting local families to work but when you leave Wal-Mart come on by here because we're rocking and rolling and we have things Wal-Mart doesn TMt have, says Fletcher.

      Many local store owners including Fletcher say they offer one thing Wal-Mart doesn TMt: A Southwest Georgian personal touch.