Through October, 1,398 business licenses have been granted in Cherokee County in 2012. At the same point last year, 1,651 licenses had been granted throughout the county.
Billy Peppers, director of economic development services and the Downtown Development Authority in Woodstock, said the growth of the housing market is contributing to the growth of other businesses.
“When new houses are being built, businesses spring up,” he said.
As for downtown Woodstock, the area is running into a unique problem: not enough vacant retail space.
“There is some on Highway 92, and some in Towne Lake, but there’s not a lot of existing space in downtown. We, as a Main Street community, report numbers on job growth every year, and that gets a little bit lower when you don’t have space,” he said.
Peppers said he expects next year to be a booming time for new businesses in Woodstock. Walton West by Walton, an apartment complex with ground-floor retail space, is slated for a spring opening, and the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta is scheduled to open in August.
Dr. Kyle Edwards, an optometrist who opened Edwards Eye Care on Hickory Flat Highway in October, said he felt pulled to the area to be closer to family and to fill a need for people wanting quality eye care in a pleasant environment close to home.
“There was about a seven-mile radius with no eye doctor. We saw a need and a growing area. I think it’s a great location. We’re on the edge of Woodstock and Canton, and near the Crabapple area. It seems like there are a lot of young families in the area, and we’re in the same kind of life stage, so that played into our decision as well,” he said.
Edwards and his wife, Anne, run the practice, which includes one additional employee.
“The results are coming a little slower. It’s long-term. We have some people that have found us and love that we’re so close, but they’ve just gotten their eye exam, so they won’t be coming to see us until next year,” Edwards said. “But it’s been exciting at the same time.”
Cherokee County issued 49 business licenses in October, up from 41 in September.
The city of Canton issued licenses to 12 new businesses in October, the most of any city in Cherokee County. The city granted only six in September.
The city of Woodstock issued seven business licenses in October, up from six in September.
Six new businesses were granted permits in Holly Springs in October, the same number of permits granted by the city in September.
No new business licenses were issued in Ball Ground, Waleska or Nelson during the month of October.