“Recently, a local man who had been to a concert asked if we had just opened,” said David Wright. “He was surprised to find out we had been here for over four years. He’s now become a weekly customer. We can’t tell you how many people tell us they’ve been to a concert and either noticed our sign or read about us as a Mill Town Partner on the concert program and they come back the next day. We’ve even had several people drive back a week later for lunch, some from 25 miles or more away.”
Wright Way BBQ isn’t the only business seeing a difference in sales. According to Jennie English, president of the Haralson County Chamber of Commerce, our local community is seeing several extra transactions due to the Mill Town events.
“Just last week, Allen’s Florist in Tallapoosa received an order from Nashville for a Mill Town event,” said English. She said she met the first “out-of-towner” here for a concert shopping in a local boutique. And for our restaurants and hotels, English added, “An extra night here and there to a few extra meals really adds up for our community. It’s exciting to hear positive stories from local businesses.”
Robin Worley, CEO of The Sewell Companies headquartered in Bremen, noted an increase in their outlet store traffic on concert days and is thankful for the opportunity to serve the Nashville executive community that has been visiting over the last few months.
“From concert goers to the musicians to music producers and managers, Mill Town is opening the door to a wide array of new visitors to our community,” said Worley. “Whether they are in town to see the groups or just visiting to check out the venue or the performers themselves, many arrive early on concert days and have a few hours to explore our community. We are glad many of them needed new suits. I think we are just beginning to see what a difference this venue can do for our region.”
Most recently, with the sold-out August concerts of The Oak Ridge Boys and the Harold Shedd Tribute, local hoteliers noted a definite impact.
Holiday Day Inn Express General Manager Maury Leibowitz reported as much as “up to 2/3 occupancy attributable to Mill Town events” for a couple of nights during the Shedd Tribute.
“As the closest hotel to the venue, we get a lot of first timers because of our proximity, but the great thing is that many are returning for a variety of reasons,” said Quality Inn and Suites Manager Chirag Thakkar. “We have several Mill Town regulars who return for additional concerts, but we have had a couple of guests who after staying with us planned their next business stays here. Mill Town Music Hall gave them a reason to get to know us, but they are coming back because of our community hospitality.”
Many local restaurants have reported increased traffic as well. T
abitha Denney, Waffle House District Manager, loves concert nights at Mill Town Music Hall.
“We definitely know when it is a concert night,” said Denney. “We are consistently busy from concert goers.”
Wright Way BBQ has benefitted in many ways since Mill Town Music Hall’s opening weekend back in February. According to David Wright, they had been waiting over a year to purchase a salad bar for the restaurant. With their profits from the first month of Mill Town opening, they paid cash for the now very popular addition to their dining room.
David’s wife and business co-owner, Joyce Wright added, “It’s just one of several enhancements we want to add.”
Joyce Wright also said, “It is exciting to enhance our services, but we are most excited and blessed about the fact we’ve added jobs.”
Wright Way BBQ not only increases their wait staff on concert nights, but has now had to increase their staff on a regular basis.
Haralsoon County Tourism Director Gail Priest says she has also noted an impact that goes beyond profits.
“As I visit the motels and businesses in town someone is always asking me about the upcoming show at Mill Town. The impact on the town is not only monetary but has lifted the spirits of our residents and gives everyone a sense of ownership with the volunteer program,” Priest said. “Word is slowly getting around the region about the quality of entertainers we are hosting – Oak Ridge Boys, Mel Tillis, Bo Bice – and the buzz is getting louder.”
Priest says she expects the positive trend toward tourism in our area is just getting started.
“Mill Town Music Hall has been a catalyst for tourism traffic in Bremen and the county. This is only the beginning of a truly great ride.”