Brownwoood Christmas Revenue Exceeding Last Year’s Sales at Many Stores - The Villages Daily Sun: Growth

Brownwoood Christmas Revenue Exceeding Last Year’s Sales at Many Stores

By David R. Corder, Daily Sun | Posted: Monday, December 4, 2017 8:18 am

New resident growth in the Southern section of The Villages brought considerable cheer to the start of the Christmas shopping season at retail shops and restaurants in Brownwood.

Many of the town center stores experienced strong sales Nov. 24-25 with the start of the Christmas shopping season on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

Consumer traffic those two days pushed November sales to the highest level since Rosalyn Housley opened the independently owned Rustic Rose home decor, women’s apparel and speciality gift store.

“We’re just amazed,” she said. “The Southern growth in the Village of Fenney has a lot to do with it, absolutely. People are buying new houses. We hear it every day — ‘We just closed on a new house.’”

Sales far exceeded the start of last year’s Christmas shopping season at Christine’s, the independently owned specialty gift and women’s fashion apparel store that Christine Chaloupka owns and operates.

“Our Black Friday was way up over last year,” she said. “We also had a successful Small Business Saturday.”

Chaloupka also attributes much of the success to growth in the Southern section of The Villages.

“I have a lot of customers who tell me they’re in the process of moving to Fenney or just moving to The Villages for the first time,” she said.

Holiday shoppers also generated a lot of cheer at Kylie’s Closet, the fashion jewelry store that Mike and Danny Hackett own and operate.

“We had a great weekend,” Mike said. “Black Friday was our second best day since we opened.”

Also: The early success this year at Brownwood just might be a predictor of an even stronger holiday sale performance than last year. For instance, retail, food and beverage sales totaled $442.4 million during November-December 2016 in The Villages metropolitan statistical area, which includes all of Sumter County but not The Villages in Lake or Marion counties. That’s a 46.5 percent increase from November-December 2015. General merchandise sales within the same two months of 2016 totaled $63.2 million in the MSA. That’s a 34.5 percent five-year increase. And food and beverage sales totaled $61.4 million the same months in the MSA. That’s a 25.7 percent five-year increase.

Also: Wildwood continues to add new jobs to the Sumter County employment roll, with Aldi announcing last week it is hiring 28 workers for a new store in the retail center east of Powell Road and north of County Road 466A. Those jobs combine with the 150 jobs that Lowe’s Cos. Inc. needs for its new store in the same retail center. Filling the Lowe’s jobs wasn’t too difficult, either, Lowe’s spokesman Steve Salazar said.

Also: The job growth in Wildwood, including construction trade needs in and around the villages of Fenney and Southern Oaks, accounts for recent gains in Sumter employment. Year-over-year employment growth for October in the county remained steady at 4 percent, with 1,134 new jobs added since October a year ago, the state advised in its latest jobs report.

Also: The Wildwood City Commission recently took action to ensure the continuation of age-restricted residential development in the Village of Southern Oaks. Commissioners voted unanimously at the November meeting to reinforce the designation of Southern Oaks as an age-restricted community south of State Road 44, just as Lady Lake and Marion and Sumter counties approved years ago for The Villages north of the state highway. By adopting federal Housing & Urban Development guidelines, the Wildwood commission even authorized The Villages Developer to exceed the existing threshold in The Villages that requires at least one person 55 or older occupy at least 80 percent of all homes. In fact, the federal guidelines permit up to a 90:10 ratio in Southern Oaks, according to the approved city ordinance transmitted to the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

Also: At that November meeting, the commission increased the planning area for Southern Oaks to 8,059 acres from about 4,518 acres on property The Villages owns south of SR 44, east of U.S. Highway 301, along both the north and south sides of Florida’s Turnpike and east to the Lake County line, according to city planning documents.

Also: The commission at that meeting approved a large-scale comprehensive plan amendment that designates another 1,459 acres of Southern Oaks strictly for age-restricted uses. The property is on the south side of SR 44, north of the turnpike and west of Lake Okahumpka, as well as on the southeast and southwest corners of the intersection of SR 44 and County Road 468.

David R. Corder is a senior writer with The Villages Daily Sun. He can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5241, or