Tags from 29 counties at new Sam’s Club, 40% Fayette, 39% Coweta
The Sam’s Club store in the new Fischer Crossings commercial center on Ga. Highway 34 in east Coweta County near Peachtree City opened last Thursday to much fanfare and many shoppers. But where did all those shoppers come from?
A survey of vehicles on Thursday morning and again Saturday afternoon showed the crowded parking lot populated with shoppers from 29 Georgia counties. Of those, 40 percent of the vehicles were from Fayette County and 39 percent were from Coweta County, according to an actual count of auto license tags by a reporter for The Citizen.
At 136,000 square feet and as the company’s only store in southwest metro Atlanta, the large Sam’s Club was expected to be a draw from residents of both Coweta and Fayette and nearby counties. And it was. A walk through in the parking lot at 10 a.m. Thursday, less than two hours after the grand opening, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday revealed 629 Georgia vehicles for which the county of origin could be determined.
As might have been expected, due to the geographical proximity of the store, the largest percentage of vehicles in the parking lot were registered in Coweta and Fayette counties. Of the 629 vehicles, 253 vehicles, or 40 percent, were registered in Fayette County while 243 vehicles, or 39 percent, were registered in Coweta County.
But the geographic draw of the new store showed something else. Aside from tags from Fayette and Coweta, the parking lot was also populated with vehicles from 27 other Georgia counties.
Whether Sam’s was the destination or whether motorists were just passing through the area and decided to stop in at the new store, the parking lot, nonetheless, was also populated with vehicles from Meriwether, Spalding, Troup, Pike, Douglas, Clayton, Upson, Franklin, Henry, Fannin, Hall, DeKalb, Talbot, Clarke, Bibb, Banks, Carroll, Irwin, Bulloch, Lamar, Butts, Rockdale, Taylor, Newton, Cobb and Gwinnett counties.
It should be noted that the vehicles of the large number of Sam’s employees, numbering approximately 200, did not come into play for the tabulation since employees parked at the nearby Walmart in Peachtree City and were shuttled to work from that location.
Beyond shopping availability and employment opportunities, the new retail store will also bring sales and property tax revenues to Coweta County. The same will be true of Fischer Crossings’ 40,000 square-foot NCG Cinemas one-third of a mile to the east expected to open in March. But the employment and economic impact goes well beyond that of Sam’s and the cinema.
Fischer Crossings several years ago was zoned for approximately 800,000 square feet of commercial space situated on the northeast, northwest and southwest corners of the intersection of Hwy. 34 and Fischer Road.
A report in September entitled “The Economic Impact of Fischer Crossing Shopping Center on Coweta County” compiled by Dr. William Smith and Dr. Hilde Patrol-Boenheim of the University of West Georgia’s Department of Economics showed that, at eventual build-out, Fischer Crossings retailers would create an estimated 978 jobs with an annual estimated payroll of $21.15 million.
As for local tax revenues for the Coweta County coffers, the report indicated that local sales and property taxes will generate $5.2-7.1 million annually, or 8.7-11.9 percent of Coweta County’s total sales tax and property tax revenues.