Today was one of those rare days where everything was memorable.

The weather is still warm but starting to feel like fall as we head north into Alabama and Georgia. The occasional tree is yellow or crimson, but mostly the humid green of summer still dominates the countryside.

Our California accents betray us at the gas station in small town Georgia. The clerk says “where y’all from cuz ya ain’t from roun here” when I ask her to guess she says “somewhere northern like Kentucky”. I laugh aloud. “We are from California” and it is her turn to laugh.

We drive into wadley Alabama and my first thought is how exquisitely beautiful the riverfront is. My second thought is how extremely vacant their downtown is. There are only a handful of commercial buildings in the entire “downtown”: a vacant grocery store, a thriving bank, a tiny post office, a cell phone store, and a row of closed stores currently being used as an enormous casket warehouse for the church cemetery across the way. We are here to buy the dollar general store. It is the only place to buy milk, eggs, deodorant, and toilet paper for 15 miles in any direction. Wikipedia tells me this town is home to 500 residents and a state college (2 year school). The store is filled with shoppers that appear to be stocking up. The store clerk says the 8000 sf store is always busy. The brisk pace of her cash register leaves little doubt that this store has a monopoly on all basic commodities.

Outside the store I overhear two old friends talking about guitar building, poison oak, and pickled egg recipes. I approach and they give me a cautious but warm southern welcome. They are proud of their town and have no doubts that it will be around for all eternity. A navigable river, a usable rail spur, and an abundance of fertile farmland make this a crossroads of natural resources. This is also one the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

We head in the general direction of the local college (5 blocks away) and stop to ask directions from a man carrying a bag of produce freshly picked from the community garden. He volunteers a tour of his fair city which we gladly accept. Three hours later we’ve toured the unbelievably impressive local college, met the local bank chairman and shared homemade pimento cheese sandwiches in the kitchen of the retired school superintendent. To top off the memorability of the day we fed catfish in the private pond of our new friend who invites to stay with him next time we are in town.  I love the incredible hospitality that comes so naturally in the Deep South.

We head north to Georgia where we evaluate two more dollar general stores. The recurring theme is that these dollar stores are packed everywhere we go.

Tonight we stay in the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel. My 4year old son would love it here.

It was a great day I will remember for a long time.

You can watch today’s video updates / antics on Facebook:


One Response to Real estate road trip day four

  1. Alana says:

    Hi there,
    This was a wonderfully detailed and interesting read. I think there’s so much potential in the south, and that investors that really want their businesses to take off should consider states like these. The only issue that I might see as an impediment to investment might be the local laws, which might be hard for a first timer to wade through. It would have been nice if you had included some photos along with this post, by the way.

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