A new chamber of commerce is coming to Hancock County, which is ranked the number one poorest city in the state of Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. A local business owner and the president of the new chamber are excited about the new possibilities for Sparta.
Driving into Sparta, you see the courthouse, empty storefronts, heavy vehicle traffic down the main road, but with the opening of the of the new Sparta Hancock Chamber of Commerce, those stores maybe be filled soon.
The owner of Central Park Restaurant Shankar Patel says he expects business will get better," It's OK compared to the other communities around, but it has a lot of chance to improve," he said.
He is not alone -- others hope that improvement will start with the opening of this new chamber. The Chamber of Commerce formally opens this week. The group's president is fired up about the opening.
"The people of Sparta can expect a catalyst -- we are moving forward and we are going to be the answer for our community," La Tunya Goodwin said.
Sparta has not had a chamber of commerce in over 27 years, according to Goodwin. Patel said that his business is already seeing benefits from the new center.
"They're already helping us with human resources -- they're helping us with bringing better clientele, more volume of customer, and I already see the difference because a lot of people come asking about our restaurant now and nobody knew before," Patel said.
The chamber is not only going to be there for businesses, but also the whole community, Goodwin said.
"We want to have seminars to provide resources to our business as well to have activities for our older senior citizens, such as the Sparta Silvers," Goodwin said.
Patel continued to say the chamber is going to help bring his business back to life.
"This is a time, I think, the tables are turning around," Patel said
The Sparta Hancock Chamber of Commerce will hold its inaugural event Friday at 8 a.m., and is located at 12834 Broad Street in Sparta.