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Owners of a downtown business say they are moving

The owners of a family furniture business are looking to build a new store and move from their downtown Cairo location.
Charles and Rhonda Bishop, owners of Mobley’s Furniture & Appliance, appeared before the Grady County Joint Development Authority Tuesday to discuss their plans to build a new store on Market Street N.E., adjacent to O’Reilly’s Auto Parts Store.
The Bishops’ business has been located on South Broad Street in downtown Cairo for more than 40 years.
According to Charles Bishop, the plans are to construct a new 10,000 square foot store.
“We’re looking to double our size and, hopefully, double our sales and hire more employees,” Bishop told members of the authority.
The owners of the local furniture and appliance store said they are also seeking incentives like those offered to the owners of Turner’s Fine Furniture and Turner’s Budget Furniture when they located in Beachton.
“We’re not asking to be treated any differently. We just want to be treated fairly,” Bishop said.
JDA officials explained that all the money made available to the Turners was from state funding that is awarded to projects that create jobs and also bring projects to Georgia rather than neighboring states. “None of the money involved in the Turner’s deal was local money. The community did not put any money in the Turner project,” JDA Chairman Charles M. Stafford said.
JDA Attorney Thomas L. Lehman explained that the Turner’s store is in the name of the authority as a conduit for low interest financing and for a period of ad valorem tax abatement.
“There is no free lunch, however. Turner’s pays the authority a payment in lieu of taxes,” Lehman explained.
According to JDA Executive Director Chadd Mathis, Turner’s will pay the JDA in lieu of taxes for the entire period of the lease and, after the sixth year of the lease, the payment will be 100 percent of what the firm’s tax bill would be.
“We didn’t even know really what Turner’s got, but we aren’t looking for anything special. We just want to be treated the same,” Bishop said.
Chairman Stafford suggested the Bishops meet Mathis and Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton, who offered to share information on the city’s revolving loan fund, which loaned money to Turner’s.
“We want to do what we can to assist you. We just need to sit down and meet,” Stafford said.
The Bishops and their daughter, Jennifer Moore, also operate a furniture store called Style House in Tallahassee. Mrs. Moore was also present at Tuesday’s JDA meeting.

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