Saturday, June 28, 2008

Recession -- Williamson County style.

Saturday evening in Williamson County is the best time to tell how severe the economic recession is hitting locally.

It's bad, real bad, particularly in the Cool Springs area.

Outback Steakhouse had no one sitting outside waiting to get called in to dine at 5:30 p.m. Cozymels' parking on the east side was almost empty. Wal-Mart's parking lot was packed, while the more upscale grocers were seeing lighter traffic.

Williamson County is the 11th most affluent county in the nation. Household income here is about $80,000 on average. Yet consumers are acting like they're New Orleans' refugees. Fear hangs heavy, even among the predominantly Republican residents who live here.

On the other side of Cool Springs west of I-65, the southwest corner of the Moore's Lane and Highway 31 intersection remains mostly undeveloped. The major, senior-living complex and retail center planned there is stunted to a single set of units on the south side. Walgreens on the northwest side of the intersection is hurting for consumer traffic, staff tell me. And that great hill there had to be amputated for this store. I love the staff there where I'm their No. 1 pharmacy customer with my leukemia. But I hate to see the severed hill behind the store.

So here in the land of milk and honey, economic times are a little sour ... particularly on Saturday night.

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