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'A progressive, growing community': New businesses continue to open in Laurens County despite the coronavirus pandemic

Businesses are open and the Emerald City is continuing to grow.

DUBLIN, Ga. — With the number of coronavirus cases dropping and the state of Georgia lifting restrictions, a lot of Central Georgians are getting back to business. One place where that's happening is in Dublin, seeing a wave of new businesses.

After spending 14 years as an educator in Laurens County, Andrea Craft decided to change career paths.

"I decided to, after I finished out that school year, I started massage therapy school at Augusta School of Massage in Evans, Georgia," Craft said. 

Craft says she started school in July of 2020, passed her state boards, and became licensed to be a massage therapist in Georgia.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, she launched her own business.

"Here at Emerald Ease, we are here to help you relax, slow down a bit, help you take care of yourself," Craft said. 

Over the past few months, businesses like the Dublin Meat Market, Team Martin Inflatables, and Lifetime Bath and Glass have held ribbon cuttings with the Dublin – Laurens County Chamber of Commerce, signifying these businesses are open and the Emerald City is continuing to grow.

"The chamber does great, they help you communicate, have allies, have business connections -- it was a slow year with 2020," Wade Kendrick with Lifetime Bath & Glass said. 

Dublin City Manager Lance Jones says they are continuing to grow with a new company Saint-Gobain taking home to the old Valmiera Glass building.

"We try to be a progressive, growing community, and I think people see a lot of good opportunity for business here. We've had setbacks like everybody has through corona," City Manager Lance Jones said. 

"Just to see the support from friends, and family, and other business owners, just the community and board at the chamber they have been super-helpful and right there with me through the whole step of opening my business, and I look forward to working with them in the future," Craft said. 

Both owners acknowledge 2020 was tough, but with restrictions rolling back, they are hoping they can and will rebound.