Barber Shops Hopeful in Upcoming BRAC Moves

The Army’s Forces Command is moving to Fort Bragg. While this may be news to those who don’t plot base realignment and closure activities, it’s no surprise to the Fayetteville, N.C., business community, which hopes for an upswing in business.

The final round of BRAC has resulted in some overwhelming changes. How many thousands are heading to the Army’s Fort Belvoir in Northern Virginia? Drive up I-95 through Alexandria, Va., and gaze upon the cell-block looming over the interstate scheduled to house a slew of government workers and contractors. Bragg businesses would welcome a fraction of the D.C. area’s fortune.

We recently spoke with one Fayetteville barber shop owner. His livelihood is inextricably linked to unit rotations. (We said we’d never use that term, but it is appropriate here.) The deployment schedule for the 82nd Airborne Division, which makes its home at Fort Bragg, has been difficult on businesses. When the boys return, things are good; but when they go, Two Brothers Barber Shop and other businesses wait, hoping they can hang until the units return again.

He mentioned the Forces Command move first when we spoke. “Really?” I said. “Yeah. And these are the types of jobs where people will be staying at Fort Bragg, which should give us an influx of customers again,” he said. The Forces command employees will stay at Bragg. They would not deploy. Good news for businesses. This seemed the best news our owner had heard in years.

Maybe no one is more surprised about the size of the move than Forces Command itself. It has been reported a whopping 90 percent of the command’s civilian employees will be making the move from their BRAC’d Fort McPherson, Atlanta home to their new digs at the sprawling Fayetteville area Army base. In fact, 597 of 669 civilians will head to the Promised Land, a much larger contingent than anyone had envisioned.

While this is great news for Fayetteville, how do the businesses that lose customers to BRAC fare?

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