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Travel changes helping local retail

Some of the final spring breaks in the state begin this week, and the weather seems to be matching the enthusiasm of those heading off to the beach with temperatures in the 70s and relatively clear skies.

And, with more and more families traveling locally, the biggest benefactor may be Clanton’s businesses lining Interstate 65.

“We are definitely up from last year,” Durbin Farms owner Danny Jones said Friday. “We’ve seen a lot more people stopping by so far this year.”

Jones, and his counterpart on the other side of the Interstate, Derek Gray at Peach Park, believe the lagging national economy seems to be forcing more people to not only travel closer to home but shop locally.

“There are a lot of people who have decided to save money and take shorter trips rather than go on longer, more expensive trips,” Gray said. “So far, we are doing quite well.”

On Friday, both businesses saw packed parking lots, as did local convenience stores and fast food restaurants.

“People are just trying to save money and we’re just glad we are being the ones benefiting from those shorter trips,” Gray said.

Both businesses report that all of their merchandise is doing well, and that they should have plenty of peaches this year, even with the recent cold weather the area experienced earlier in the week.

“The people we’ve talked to and buy our peaches from we’re going to be OK,” Gray said.

As for Jones, the recent expansion of their deli is also proving to be a draw.

“So far God has blessed us,” Jones said. “We’re looking forward to a good year.”