Pine Mountain continues seeing an influx of visitors and shoppers ahead of the holidays

Community News

PINE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (WRBL) – During the COVID-19 pandemic there was a huge push to shop local and support small businesses, a push that never went away for one local town. Executive Director of Pine Mountain Tourism Julia Keating said the increase in visitors started in October because of the Pumpkins at Callaway event put on by Callaway Resort and Gardens and it has only continued since.

“Between the pumpkins at the end of October, we had a slight lull for about a week and then it started back up with fantasy,” said Keating. “And it has about the same amount of people the only difference is the everyday.”

Not only is the Fantasy in Lights an everyday occurance, but small business owners Dawn and Bob Swanson said the influx of people descending on the town to shop and dine locally can be seen daily as well.

“Well we only opened about a year and a half ago although the shop has been here for about 20 years but when we compare this last month October  and so far November to last year it’s been a dramatic increase.” said Bob Swanson, Owner of Mainstreet Emporium.

“About 30 percent,” added Dawn.

It’s about more than the Holiday attractions. Keating said shoppers have been heading to Pine Mountain stores for Christmas shopping since October. 

While sitting on a swing made by her husband Refuge Mercantile owner Dede King shared all the difference this can make for a small business owner.

“Oh it means everything because when you are a small business owner and you’re trying to keep your products made locally and you need the support for people to come out and purchase your products,” said King. “And we love for people to ask where it’s made or where did you get it.”

The shop owners and tourism director all shared an abundance of gratitude for the new influx of business and the Holiday events at Callaway Resort and Gardens that are driving new people into town.

“The efforts that Callaway gardens have put in with the pumpkin festival and renovation of the Fantasy and Lights has also increased the business,” said Bob. “So I think everyone in downtown pine mountain would agree that when Callaway does well, we all do well.”

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