Graceville citizens eager for new business

Jackson County

GRACEVILLE, Fla. (WMBB) — The once-popular retail center, Vanity Fair, has been shuttered for months.

“Before it actually shut down, we used to go shopping. There was a little clothing store in there,” said Amanda Watford, a Graceville resident.

Watford said she’s lived across the street from the former outlet for about a year.

She said it had been a hassle to shop since it closed.

“The problem is just having to drive so long to go and get things, you know, for the home, or what have you. I mean, I even wanted to get the Dollar General upgraded to, even like, a market or something like that,” said Watford.

The old outlet building is getting a fresh start.

McNeil Technologies Inc., a wastewater infrastructure rehabilitation company, recently bought the facility.

They said they plan to occupy about half of the estimated 100,000 square feet as their own offices.

The other half will be leased to commercial clients.

“I think any time that you can bring jobs to a community that’s a huge get. So, it is very exciting. We’re very happy to have them coming,” said Michelle Watkins, Graceville City Manager.

Watkins said the city is also partnering with McNeil Technologies to bring back one of Graceville’s traditions – Harvest Festival, which is normally hosted on the Vanity Fair property.

“We had to cancel for three years though. Last year due to COVID, the previous year a tropical storm, the previous year Hurricane Michael, so we’re breathing some new life into it this year. It’s exciting,” said Watkins.

Watford said the festival will be on October 16th.

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