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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Brooklet is Bulloch's growing small town

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Posted: July 7, 2014 6:17 p.m.
Updated: July 7, 2014 6:13 p.m.
Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Brooklet is Bulloch's growing small town

DeWayne Grice


        Hands down, the Andy Griffith Show is my favorite TV show.
        Growing up in rural America, we all can identify with at least one character of the show and relate them to someone you know. Every time I travel the short few miles down Highway 80 to Brooklet, I feel that I have stepped back in time and entered a modern day Mayberry. Apparently, lots of you living in the Brooklet area, feel the same way, too. Outside of Statesboro, Brooklet's growth continues to be strong.
        With this in mind, we thought it would be great to devote our entire business section this week to peer into Brooklet's success.
        You don't have to look far to find strong leadership calling Brooklet home. State Representative Jan Tankersley, who lives in downtown Brooklet, never misses an opportunity to share something good about Brooklet every time we speak. Of course, you can't write a story on Brooklet without visiting the town's Ambassador - Juanita Denmark-Newton. I spent the afternoon walking the streets of Brooklet with Juanita, visiting shops and listening to the wonderful stories of the city's rich history.
        We began at her family's business, Denmark Furniture, which is the largest store in town with more than 100,000-square feet of furniture under one roof. Now managed by her son and daughter-n-law, Gary and Laurie Denmark, it is one of the largest furniture stores in the southeast. The store is warm and welcoming, just like the city. The sheer size of the store gives you an overwhelming selection of options for your entire home. Best yet, they operate as a discounter so the pricing certainly makes the short drive worth the trip.
        Our next stop is probably the most stunning in terms of historic restoration, J'Adore Bridal & Formal. The store is located in an 1800s building, with the original wood floors and exposed brick. You feel like you are in Charleston or Savannah when you step inside. The store is filled with inventory from some of the most popular designers. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful. J'Adore was originally located in Statesboro before moving to Brooklet. Store owner Mindy Sim's who has been involved in the business since it began, said that it was stunning the difference in their business in Brooklet, compared to Statesboro. They see a lot more traffic from other communities, especially Savannah, now.
        Across the street is Bohler Family Practice situated next to Brooklet Drug. Brooklet Drugs is owned by Walker Pharmacy, which still operates it under its original name.
        Dr. Scott Bohlke purchased Dr. Bohler's practice years ago. Dr. Bohler's daughter, Rene Childree, N.P., still works daily in the practice. Dr. Bohler never took appointments, you simply showed up and put your name on the list and you were seen by him based on where your name was on the list.
        Dr. Bohlke has continued this option in addition to appointments. They have renovated the buildings and added state of the art technology like radiology. Ironically, they were one of the first in the state to implement Electronic Medical Records. Continuing Dr. Bohler's traditon, Dr. Bohlke is very devoted to the community and gives much of his time outside the office to support charitable efforts. He also followed Dr. Bohler's example, by serving as president of the Medical Association of Georgia.
        Down the street we stopped in to visit with Lynn Fruitticher at Bradley's Attic. Her store is filled with unique antiques and collectibles. I asked Lynn about her store hours and she said, "Just tell them if they see my little red car parked out front to come on in."
        That pretty much sums up the laid back feel of downtown Brooklet.
        Walking back, I could not pass the Post Office Café, owned by David Coleman and Greg Frost, without sticking my head in to see what that incredible smell was. David was cooking a 10 layer cake for a catering job he had later in the day. The Café, located in the old post office was filled, with locals and visitors alike. Each had a favorite item from the menu they wanted to share with me.
        At the end of the street, tucked away behind a row buildings, is one of the best known "secrets" of Brooklet Prosser's Seafood. Billy Prosser has owned a shrimp boat for years and has sold his fresh daily catch out of this small store front. The store is run by his son Bubba and grandson Colten. The family business is Bulloch counties' source for fresh seafood at whole sale prices. Bubba added, "We only sell fresh seafood. Nothing farm raised here. Everything you see was swimming in the ocean this morning."
        The charm of this little town is undeniable, but is that enough to sustain the growth?
        With this question I reached out to Pat Hirsch, owner/agent at ERA Hirsh Real Estate Team to see why the demand continues to be strong.
        Hirsch said, "Thanks to the Internet, people relocating now have a wealth of information to preview a community. The number one thing that draws families to Brooklet is the excellent schools. Test scores remain high, while class size remains relatively low. The schools are new and well equipped with the latest technology. Most of the residents of Brooklet work outside the community, many traveling to the Savannah area. The proximity to the interstate and airport is another great selling point. That, combined with no traffic, a safe environment and a variety of restaurants and shops to meet their needs make it a wonderful place to call home."
        Whether you're visiting for an hour or a lifetime, I think you will agree that Brooklet is one of those rare communities that continues to thrive by being grounded in the past, but recognizing and providing for the needs of the future.
        Hope to see you in Brooklet next time I visit.

        Please email DeWayne at dgrice@statesboroherald.com or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.

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