Some of McDuffie County's open boxes are about to be closed.
Several large, vacant buildings - boxes, as developers call them - are slated to be filled by new businesses in the coming months.
First, Tractor Supply Company plans to move into the former K-Mart building in Thomson, according to Planning and Zoning Director Fred Guerrant.
The company has filed a preliminary site plan and will use about 67 percent of the building space, he said. The remaining 33 percent of the space will be for lease after One Stop, a job training assistance group, moves to the Knox Shopping Center.
According to the company's website, Tractor Supply is the largest retail farm and ranch supply store chain in the United States.
"I expect they might be open by the first of the year," said Sherman & Hemstreet Agent Billy Franke, who brokered the Tractor Supply deal.
Meanwhile, restoration and upgrading work on the former skating rink between Boneville and Thomson is near completion. Crawford Cabinets has been in the process of restoring the building on Georgia Hwy. 78.
The Martinez-based company plans to move their operations into the building soon, said Mr. Guerrant. Mr. Guerrant added that Crawford Cabinets specializes in making kitchen cabinets.
And the long-vacant Food Lion building will have a new tenant soon, said Mr. Guerrant. Rentown specializes in furniture and appliance rental and sales. Mr. Guerrant said Rentown will use half the space in the building, leaving the rest to remain open for rent.
Mr. Guerrant said he was glad to hear that several of the vacant buildings inside the county are on the way to being filled again.
"I'm glad all these old spaces are being reactivated," he said.
Mr. Franke said it could be just the start of a series of local developments over the next few years.
After all, McDuffie County tops Georgia in pull factor - a statistic that indicates the percentage of a county's retail sales that come from non-residents. In other words, businesses that look at locating in McDuffie County are looking at a target market several times larger than the local population.
Mr. Franke said part of that is driven by McDuffie's location, sandwiched between the Augusta area and the Lake Oconee area.
"There's going to be a lot more growth in Thomson in the next three or four years," he said. "Thomson is getting ready to take off big time. That whole area is going to go like hotcakes - between Thomson all the way to Oconee."