AMSTERDAM - The economic recovery may be slowing, but it's hard to tell that by looking at a stretch of Route 30, where retail stores are springing up all around.
Nowhere is that development more apparent than in the Amsterdam Common, where at first Target stood alone.
Construction is shown on PetSmart, left, and the nearly completed Kohl’s department store in the Amsterdam Commons on Wednesday in Amsterdam.
The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo
A sign is shown reflecting the increased stores at Amsterdam Commons.
The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo
GameStop, Moe's Southwest Grill, Aspen Dental, Supercuts and Verizon have all been open for about a year. Construction of a Kohl's department store is beginning to take shape adjacent to Target, while the skeleton of a structure that is going to be a PetSmart is rising diagonally from Kohl's. Next to that, a strip with seven more stores is planned.
Add that to the numerous other shopping centers on that stretch of Route 30 and the area is becoming even more of a retail hub for Fulton and Montgomery counties.
According to a spokeswoman for PetSmart, the store, which isn't quite 50 percent complete, is on target to open Nov. 17, with a grand-opening celebration scheduled for Nov. 21. The store will cover about 13,000 square feet.
The recent development ends a lonely two years for Target since its October 2008 opening.
"They're continuing to build out to the original plan," town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said. "They started it a couple of years ago, but the economy took a turn for the worse and [the developer] held off on building. They always planned for additional stores."
The plan calls for an additional strip next to the future PetSmart location with several other stores, including a Michael's craft store, a shoe store and three or four other unnamed stores, DiMezza said.
Also, another box-shaped building is planned like the one that houses Moe's, GameStop and Verizon wireless, but the supervisor wasn't sure if those stores had been named yet.
DiMezza said the renewal in building is good for the area.
"I know some of the workers are from out of the area," he said. "They stay at area hotels and spend money at area grocery stores and restaurants."
The PetSmart spokeswoman said when complete in November, the store will employ abut 40 full-time and part-time workers. Previous reports indicate about 120 workers could be employed by Kohl's.
"It will be nice to see people find jobs in the area," DiMezza said. "It will be nice to see the whole complex finally completed."
Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce President Deborah Auspelmyer said while the increased retail development, which is consisting mostly of big-box stores and national chains, adds to the sales-tax revenue for the county, she is concerned about the effect on local independently-owned small businesses.
"How much of the market will [small locally owned businesses] lose?" she said. "Competition is certainly good for the consumer, but how can that impact small businesses? It can be detrimental."
To DiMezza, what matters most is the increase in employment and sales-tax revenue the project will bring to his town and the county.
"It's going to be good," he said. "It's certainly going to increase the sales tax for the town and the sales tax for the county. Everybody benefits from the building that's going on in the town of Amsterdam."
Mike Zummo is the business editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org