Signs of improving economy in South Tipton County - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Signs of improving economy in South Tipton County

Business leaders and owners in Atoka, TN, are encouraged by the signs of economic vitality. Business leaders and owners in Atoka, TN, are encouraged by the signs of economic vitality.

(WMC-TV) - There are signs of a growing economy in South Tipton County.

Business leaders and owners in Atoka, TN, are encouraged by the signs of economic vitality.

Who would have ever thought a retired Navy welder would now be making his living sewing?

But that's exactly what Don Barnett's doing and he says business is good, really good.

"Improved from four to five customers to probably three to four hundred customers now and that's in nineteen months," says Barnett.

Barnett's printing and embroidery business started from humble beginnings.

"Started with a desk, a little embroider machine, a maxed out credit card and a dream," he says.

Business leaders in Atoka and South Tipton County say Barnett's story isn't unusual.

They say the overall economy is improving.

In fact, the town of Atoka generated over $200,000 in sales tax revenue for the very first time in January.

And that's not the only thing looking up.

In Atoka alone, there are around 15 to 20 new homes under construction.

Town leaders say even though building never stopped, this is the best it's been in one and a half to two years.

"More money in people's pockets and they feel more confident about the outlook of the economy, they're more likely to head out to a restaurant or do some shopping," says Atoka Town Administrator Brian Koral.

For small business owners like Don Barnett, seeing new customers is a good thing.

"They're selective on how they're spending their money, they're looking at how they're gonna spend their money, looking for a better deal, always looking to save money," adds Barnett.

In all, Atoka collected over $1.5 million in Tipton County's $7.8 million in sales tax revenue last year.

Atoka town leaders say as population grows so does business.

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