WMAZ is taking a closer look at the state of the city of Warner Robins’ economy.
Jacob Reynolds talked to a new business owner on Thursday about why he chose the International City for his business.
Stephen Rollyson, a Warner Robins native, says the city had an opening for his kind of business.
After moving back south from Atlanta, he knew it was the right time.
“Having been there and participated in the music scene there, as well as seeing a lot of cool businesses up there, coming back to Warner Robins I felt that in particular there weren't a lot of great places to see music,” Rollyson said.
That's why he's opening Wellston Station on Russell Parkway this month. The coffee shop and music venue has been under renovations for months and Rollyson says the city has already proved it's good for new small business.
“Fortunately, here in Warner Robins, people have been pretty receptive to starting new businesses. You have places like Just Tap'd that started a couple years ago and brought a unique concept here to Warner Robins and actually killed it. So, we're hoping to do sort of the same thing for a different industry,” he said.
Wellston Station will serve food, coffee, and craft beer and wine.
He's not the only one starting a new business. Government numbers show the city's new commercial and residential permits are growing with more than 380 total in 2016, as opposed to 288 in 2014.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says unemployment in Warner Robins has dropped each year since 2014.
It was at 7.2% in 2014, 6.1% in 2015, and unofficially 5.6% in 2016.
Liz Pifer is now employed, the Air Force veteran says she had trouble finding work after leaving the military, especially with a special needs son.
“I really couldn't get much jobs because jobs are like we need you here right then but if something happened with him I would have to leave, so I wasn't very reliable as far as that goes, but here they're just like really flexible and they're understanding of 'Hey you have a family outside of this we understand,” Pifer said.
She says that's just one of the advantages of working for small businesses. Pifer and her family have lived in Warner Robins for seven years.
Together, the two just hope Wellston Station helps grow the international city.
Rollyson says he has hired all 25 of his employees locally from Warner Robins and Macon. Wellston Station is expected to open before the end of the month.