Moving up in a downward economy: A WVVA special report - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Moving up in a downward economy: A WVVA special report

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(WVVA) -- It's no secret the economy isn't exactly in its glory days.  Some businesses haven't seen the burn though; some businesses have actually been able to do quite well and expand despite tough economic times. 

"We as a brand are very strong. We're very relevant," says Richard Jarrell, owner of Chick-Fil-A.

They're not alone. Chalk up a point for the fast food industry in general for beating economic hardships. With money on people's minds, they've become an affordable option for a family meal.

"We try to show that it's a family atmosphere at Chick-Fil-A. We do have our indoor playland and I think a lot of parents take advantage of that," says Stacie Walls, marketing director at Chick-Fil-A.  "It gives them times that parents can still talk amongst themselves, and that is really important to have the family at a table together for dinner."

When it comes to buying take-home goods, retail giant, Wal-Mart, has done well. They've also been able to put thousands of people to work locally. They're the largest employer in West Virginia.

"Wal-Mart has very good prices I feel, and they have a wide variety of things you can choose from and their sales.  I always go to Wal-Mart," says Renee Smith, a Wal-Mart shopper.

"If you're willing to sometimes wait a little at Wal-Mart, which they give wonderful service, but just because their volume of individuals that are shopping there is so great, you may have to wait a little longer, but yes you do definitely get very competitively priced goods," says Bradley Wartella, Senior Vice President, Bank of Mount Hope.

Many people who've seen hard times first hand turn to alcohol, which also boosts revenue for folks in that industry.

"We have heard and we have seen that the liquor industry has done very well," says Stuart Cohen, owner of the Corner Shop in Beckley.  "Their sales have continued to grow.  Wine sales have continued to grow."

There's a catch for retailers though.

"The customers' gotten smarter. They've gotten sharper. They're actually making calculations as to what the cost of beer is per ounce and basing their buying decision upon that," says Cohen.  "We'll see the quantities are staying the same that we're selling, but we're selling more of a less expensive product."

Financial experts agree, making calculations and hunting for the bargains is the best thing you can to make the most of your money.

"Doing their research, understanding who can do the best deal as well as maybe go to that next door to find a better deal," says Wartella.  "And shopping."

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