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Selma Tries to Attract Antique Seekers

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SELMA — Folks drive from far and wide to check out the antiques in Wilson, but now another town wants some of that business. The town of Selma in Johnston County is attracting more and more specialty stores and, hopefully, more customers to fill them.

While Selma is a small town, its proximity to Interstate-95 makes it accessible to about 40,000 motorists each day. Town officials know that there has to be a draw to attract those travelers into Selma's downtown area.

Two antique stores have opened in downtown Selma and, with 10 more expected to open soon, officials and merchants are hoping for better days ahead.

Just a few months ago, the town was plagued by 16 empty store-fronts, but aggressive marketing geared specifically toward antique dealers, every one of those buildings will open again.

Store owner Rosemary Wagaman says she plans to live above her store.

Selma is luring potential business owners from all over the country, using trade magazines to get attention. Selma Mayor Joe Moore says he thinks the town offers much more than an urban shopping center would.

Officials say it wasn't necessarily tax incentives that lured the new businesses to Selma. They say they just went looking for dealers and invited them to come.