When it comes to patriotism, Roy McNeal goes big.
He owns shopping centers along Watson Boulevard and Russell Parkway in Warner Robins where two giant American flags fly. He has flown the flags ever since he built the two centers.
The flags are 20 feet by 30 feet and cost $600 each. And he doesn’t let them get ragged. He changes the flags two or three times a year, depending on how windy it gets.
A man of few words, he had a simple answer when asked why he spends that kind of money on flags.
“I’m a patriotic person and I love flags,” he said as the flag at his Galleria Square shopping center on Watson unfurled rhythmically behind him in a slow breeze.
The other flag is at Plantation Mill on Russell. That’s where Monkey Joe’s, Jus One More nightclub and numerous other businesses are located. Galleria Square is the home of Tuesday Morning, Clyde Armory and Game On nightclub, among others.
McNeal was selling insurance when he shifted to the construction business in 1973. He said that was because computers were coming along and he “didn’t have the education” to make the adjustment.
The change worked out pretty well for him.
He has built several shopping centers that he owns and also has built many other commercial projects across the state for others. And at 86, he is still building. He constructed the new shopping center on Watson where Chicken Salad Chick is located.
When he built the Galleria Square in 1997, there was nothing around it, he said. Some people said the large center would never make “out in the country.” He has just one vacancy right now.
He is optimistic about the local economy.
“I call it Wonderful Robins.”