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Portals economy is on the comeback trail
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      As many of you know, fellow Statesboro Herald columnist Holli Deal Bragg resides in the Portal area. She has been on my case lately, and rightfully so, because I haven't been reporting on the Portal business community.
       Well Holli, this one is for you!
       Records indicate that in the past few months, several new businesses have opened including the Portal Pooch Parlor, Videocracy, JCS Hot Dots, Deloach's Detailing, Elite Cutz, Deal's Auto and Home Supplies, Inc, and Portal Financial Services, Inc.
       I spoke with Portal Financial Services owner Tray Baird to ask him why he wanted to open consumer finance company in Portal.
       "The building that I bought used to the BB&T bank building here," Baird said. "I believe this community needs and can support a finance company, and this is a great building and location."
       The Georgia Southern and Portal High School graduate said he feels that Portal is moving forward and that the cornerstone of that movement is supported by two different initiatives.
       "First, there is significant school construction happening here in Portal," he said. "A new middle school/high school is underway and the city is putting in a new water and sewer system and extending it to other areas that are being served by the city."
       Baird said the response since opening three months ago has been very good. "If somebody from the Portal community walks in our door, we want to be able to help them," he said. "We don't want people to have to go elsewhere for basic services such as small consumer loans and tax services."
       It isn't everyday that I get to interview one of my co-workers, but this column is a little different. It just wouldn't be the same if I didn't include Holli's thoughts in this one. So Holli, what do you think about sleepy Portal "waking up" so-to-speak?
       "I just think it is great," she said. "Our downtown was looking run down, and now it is getting an updated feel to it. I'm really excited. I want every one to come to the Cat Face Country Turpentine Festival on October 3rd and 4th in Portal. Come see what we are all so excited about."
       To learn more about the Cat Face County Turpentine Festival you can visit the festival's website at

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