Local leaders and chamber of commerce leaders gathered one morning last week to celebrate a ribbon cutting at Bealls Outlet.
The discount store occupies a space previously occupied by Goodys at 312 W. Hill Street. Not only has Bealls Outlet filled a vacancy left by the closing of Goodys, it also will still be home to Philip Pirkle — who managed the previous store for years.
“We are excited to celebrate a new business here filling up this space,” said Debbie Jones, executive director of the Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce. “ We are so excited to have Beall’s Outlet opening here. It looks fabulous.”
Thomson Mayor Kenneth Usry also congratulated the new store as well as Pirkle.
“My congratulations to the new store, to the new look, but mainly to this gentleman here. He’s been around a long, long time and has been a part of our community,” said Usry. “He did a good job running two other businesses, now he’s on number three. That is great. That just shows his commitment to the folks he works for and then back to our community. He’s been a major part of us for a very long time.”
Pirkle said the recent months have been an amazing journey and the Bealls leadership was very gracious in offering him a job.
“They had been interested in Thomson for quite some time. When they realized that this building had become available, then it just seemed like a natural fit to move in here,” Pirkle said. “I want to thank the Bealls corporation. They’re good people. They do business the right way,” Pirkle added.
The store manager said he has brought back many familiar faces that have worked with him in past years but also has added some new staff.
Yasmean Dixon, district manager for Bealls Outlet, said the company is really happy to be in the community.
“Thank you guys for welcoming us. We want to be a pillar in the community,” she said. “As you can see, we offer a little bit of everything for everybody.”
Usry asked Pirkle how many employees Bealls Outlet has created in Thomson. Pirkle said about 20.
“That’s a good example. This building was fixing to be shut down completely, but that is 20 jobs still being created in our community. That says a lot for Bealls and for Phil (Pirkle) to keep these jobs available and payroll coming not just for Thomson but for McDuffie County.”
“We’re going to make some money here because that is what we are in business for, but we’re going to do it the right way and we’re going to enjoy seeing everyone every day.”
Pirkle has 29 years managing businesses in Thomson, but a total of 45 years in business. Pirkle first worked in the grocery business and then worked for Moore’s Department Store in Cordele for a few years. From there, he was transferred to the Moore’s store in Thomson.