Monthly Archives: May 2017

startup-photos

The Business of Your Dreams

Three years ago a young mother of four, while homeschooling her children on botany, assigned them to distribute a significant amount of wildflower seed on the empty lot next door. The experiment that began as a learning experience has developed into a lucrative business. The wild flowers bloomed prolifically that spring and early summer. That Mom saw an article in the local paper encouraging those with abundant cut flowers to come out to the Farmer’s Market to sell them. She and her family now raise acres of cut flowers, selling not only at the Market, but to local and regional florists.

A young man needing to earn his own spending money for college the next fall was looking to do anything that wasn’t related to the food industry. He had a special place in his heart for older folks and wanted to serve them and make money, too. He started “Grandson for Rent”. On his own computer he made cards with his picture, contact information and noted in print that he was honest and reliable. His services included handling those jobs around the house that were simple but not designed for those challenged by the aging process. He was willing to clean gutters, wash windows, rake leaves and weed gardens. He went to a neighborhood where he knew many retirees resided and handed his card out door to door. He left for college that following September with more than enough spending money. He also made many new “old” friends who had jobs lined up for him when he returned home on his holiday break.

We often get asked what kind of business the community will support. What business will be the most successful? Our best answer is the business you have the most passion about and are willing to devote your time, energy and capital. Our population is diverse in age and in interests. The influx of tourism throughout our region adds another dimension to potential business opportunities. Because we are located 100 miles from an urban metropolis, there are many opportunities to supply goods and services on a small business scale.

Here are just a few ideas that won’t take a great deal of startup capital yet have the potential to grow into a booming enterprise.

“Know It All”.  Start a home based business, teaching what you know best. Writing, painting and drawing, foreign languages, quilting, yoga, the basics of fine wine or vocal coaching can be taught individually or if space allows, in a group. Want to teach others about the great outdoors? Groups will flock to your birding tours. Waterfall tour guides are always in demand. Collaborate with one of our caterers to pack your tour the perfect picnic lunch. Full service is one important key to success.

“Shuttle Up”. It isn’t just our elderly population who need access to transportation to shopping and medical appointments. Our tourism industry could be tapped as well. Mom wants to shop one day, but Dad wants to take the kids fishing. They only arrived with one vehicle. A shuttle helps solve the dilemma. When not shuttling people, you can also shuttle goods; firewood, groceries, restaurant takeout or laundry.

“Bottle It”. Our region is rich with opportunities to sell your secret formulas. Retail establishments look to stock local products. Craft shows and festivals throughout the region have turned a passion for BBQ into a national bestselling sauce. If you make it, package it and have complied with the local, county and state regulations, you will find a market for it.

“Party Animal”. If all your friends tell you that you throw the best party, chances are others will think so, too. A creative mind can conjure up the ideal fun time for kids of all ages. Boomers are waiting for someone to create a 60th birthday party with a disco theme. Destination gatherings aren’t just for weddings. Our mountains seem to be where people like to reunite. A good weekend coordinator can serve family, sorority, fraternity, armed service and employee reunions.

“Glamping”. Visitors to our area are continually looking for a unique opportunity to experience the magic of the mountains and the great outdoors. Yet, not everyone wants to pitch a tent and eat beans out of a can. Adding the right combination of glamour and camping could find your unique accommodations destination garnering attention on the international travel blogs. Did someone mention Creekside yurts?

Whether your idea for a business is traditional or unconventional, our Chamber of Commerce will be an essential key to your success. Call us at 877-745-5789 for an appointment to brainstorm your idea with our staff.

Back to Dream 

Photo courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Guest Blog: Jesica Clemmons of Sunrise Grocery

I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, but it always seemed as if my heart was born in the mountains. My mom and dad used to bring me to the mountains of North Georgia every chance they got; sometimes it was to hike & other times it was just to have a break from the chaos that always surrounded us. I found a comfort in that peace that we received when traveling for a weekend getaway. I loved it so much that when I turned sixteen and got my license, I would often come up to Blairsville for a hike and to see all the beautiful scenery rather than hang out in the city.

My love for these mountains and the town of Blairsville ended up building the path for me meeting my future husband. So, not only did I snag the perfect guy for me, but I also ended up living in what is for me, Heaven on earth. Not a bad deal, huh? These mountains and the town of Blairsville gave me the love of my life, an amazing job working at the oldest business in the county, and many great friends in my new hometown. Not to mention, I don’t have to drive up anymore for a weekend getaway. My weekends are now much more laid back and fun-filled.

Photo courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Photo courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Jason and I feel so lucky to live here. We live in a spot where most people come for vacation, and they come with good reason. We try to use every free moment we have to explore. Most evenings after we close Sunrise, we take a drive around our mountain town to take in the views. Rather than sit in traffic, we take in the fresh mountain air. We both always say it is better than sitting at home watching T.V.  We usually either drive up to Brasstown Bald and look for all the bears along the way or we drive up Richard Russell to watch the sky change into an array of colors from the setting sun.

Courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Of course, the weekends are our favorite and are never dull. On Saturdays we are at the historic Sunrise Grocery all day. Luckily, Sunrise isn’t just a job for us, we absolutely love being there. We sell Jason’s photography, my mother in law’s knitting, my homemade soap, and lots of local goodies like jams, jellies, honey and t-shirts. So, it’s all fun things and fun people. We get to catch up with a lot of locals who come in to see us, and we also get to meet many new people from all over who are here visiting.  We strike up the fire for our boiled peanuts pretty early and from there it is usually pretty nonstop dipping up peanuts and chatting with our customers all day. It’s never a bad day at the office.

On Sundays we are able to take some time off and usually take full advantage of all this beautiful place has to offer. Sometimes we set out pretty early, as in four o’clock in the morning. Jason is a photographer and I am a nature lover so we will occasionally go somewhere to catch the sunrise. One of our favorite places is Brasstown Bald, which is the highest spot in Georgia. We’ll get up, make a BIG pot of coffee to throw in a thermos, and head out the door to hike up to the tower. A time or two we have been above the clouds and it is unbelievable! What beauty! We watch the clouds below us turn a golden orange before the sun peaks over them. One thing is for sure, we have never regretted getting up early to see a sunrise. As a matter of fact, it is a pretty amazing way to start the day.

Photo Courtesy of Jason Clemmons

Photo Courtesy of Jason Clemmons

We’re not always so ambitious when it comes to getting up early, but we definitely are both eager to get out of the house to go find some fun. Whether it is going to grab coffee at Cabin Coffee, popping into Sunrise to say hello, or head up to Mountain Crossings to check out their outdoor gear or walk a little of the Appalachian Trail, we make our rounds and then find something to do outside. A lot of times we’ll head to Helton Creek waterfall, especially if we have just had a good rain or if it snows. Other times we may go to Vogel State Park for a picnic or to walk around the lake. Vogel is both mine and Jason’s favorite state park in Georgia. You just can’t beat the view there with the lake and mountains as its backdrop. I got to say, it is a great place for a date. We went on one of our first dates there and we have the photo Jason took of the waterfall that day hanging in our room.

In the evening, we sometimes head to town to go out to eat at one of the restaurants. We have a lot of great places to eat in Blairsville so we usually just take turns going to different places. Other times we’ll go hike up to Wildcat to watch the sun go down. It is by far the absolute best place to catch a sunset that I’ve ever been to. It’s a pretty small hike, maybe about a mile, and the view is more than worth every step. It’s a great place to take a picnic or bottle of wine, sit out on the rock and toast to a stunning sunset.

Blairsville Arts, Crafts, and Music Festival 2017

Blairsville Arts, Crafts, and Music Festival 2017

This Memorial Day weekend, celebrate arts, crafts, and music from around our region at the annual Blairsville Arts, Crafts, & Music Festival! Taking place on Blairsville’s historic Town Square, there will be over 60 arts and crafts vendors to visit, yummy mountain fair food available for purchase, and lots of great bluegrass, gospel, and country music for you to enjoy. While you’re downtown, be sure to stop in the quaint shops and delicious restaurants on the square.

The Blairsville Arts, Crafts, and Music Festival will take place from 10am to 5pm on May 27th and 28th. Learn more about the festival at www.visitblairsvillega.com/fun-things-to-do-in-blairsville-ga/festivals/.

cruise in on square

Spring Festival Season 2017

Spring has finally sprung and so has festival season in Blairsville-Union County! With the warmer weather upon us activities abound in these here hills. 

Make sure you don’t forget Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 14th. Several restaurants around town will have specials so you can treat your Mom and make sure she knows how important she is to you. Later that week on Thursday, May 18th the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce hosts their annual Buy Local Extravaganza! This is an opportunity for Union County businesses to showcase themselves and to remind residents how important it is to Buy Local. The event will be held at North Georgia Technical College with FREE parking, FREE admission, and something for every member of the family to enjoy from 4pm-7pm.

Saturday, May 20th features an Armed Forces Day celebration in Downtown Blairsville at 11am. In the afternoon, enjoy the sounds of the flamenco guitar as only Curtis Jones can play them at Paradise Hills Winery. End your day perusing classic cars at the Cruise In on the Square hosted by the Blairsville Cruisers. This is a great way to enjoy the Downtown Blairsville area dining around town, shopping at the stores, and enjoying music in a lively atmosphere!

May wraps up with the 2017 Blairsville Arts, Crafts, and Music Festival! On Saturday, May 27th and Sunday, May 28th from 10am to 5pm, downtown Blairsville will be bustling with arts and crafts vendors, delicious food, an endless amount of musical performances, quaint shops to visit, restaurants to sample and the friendliest people in the mountains! Saturday morning there will be a Memorial Day Parade at 10am and immediately following will be the first annual North Georgia Bed Race benefiting Habitat for Humanity. It is going to be a hoot and a half, y’all!

For more outdoor fun consider exploring a waterfall, visiting Vogel State Park, or hiking up to Brasstown Bald – Georgia’s highest peak! The Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce is happy to help build you a custom itinerary. For local area information, lodging, and additional upcoming events please stop by The Welcome Center located in the Union County Community Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road, or call 706-745-5789, or visit us online at www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com.

cinco de mayo

Cinco de Mayo – Mountain Style

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican celebration to commemorate the Mexican Army‘s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. American’s mistakenly believe that it is Mexico’s Independence Day. We believe it is a great day to celebrate the Mexican-American culture and really, who doesn’t love a taco?

Blairsville-Union County offers you a variety of ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo regardless of the true meaning of the date:

  1.  Armadillo Grill: Tex Mex done right is what you’ll get when you come out to the ‘dillo for Cinco de Mayo. Sukoshi & Terry will be jamming some tunes for you on the patio while you enjoy Cinco de Lim-O Tacos for lunch or Enchilada Casserole for dinner. It may or may not be a rule that you have to try a Fresh Strawberry Margarita and/or a Fresh Mint Mojito to complete your celebration. For more information, please follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/armadillo.grill/
  2.  The View Grill: The name alone should make you want to come and dine at The View Grill featuring breathtaking views of Butternut Creek Golf Course. They have a fun day planned beginning with Mexican inspired lunch specials at 11am. From 5pm-8pm, enjoy a full Mexican buffet for only $10 including sweet tea. A full bar is available with margarita and pina colada specials, but you can’t leave without trying a Mountain Sangria featuring Grandaddy Mimms moonshine! You’ll even have a chance to win up to $500 in giveaways when you play their fun piñata games. For more information, please follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/The-View-Grill-at-Butternut-Creek-1654395681507288/
  3.  Tri State Business Women’s Cinco de Mayo: If you are looking for enthusiasm, you won’t find a better group to celebrate with than the Tri-State Business Women. Their first Cinco de Mayo event last year sold out, so they moved to a bigger venue – North Georgia Technical College. Amazing Grace Catering & Events will be serving up a terrific Mexican feast and live music will be playing for your entertainment. All proceeds from the event go to support local charities and scholarships. For more information, please follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/TriStateBusinessWomen/
  4. Monte Alban: The most authentic place in Union County to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Put on your sombrero and celebrate with food and drink specials and lots of giveaways! For more information, please follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/MonteAlbanMexicanRestaurantBlairsville/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf

If Cinco de Mayo celebrations don’t really appeal to you, we have a variety of other options to enjoy your Friday evening:

  1. Kilted Golf Classic: The Blairsville Scottish Festival & Highland Games hosts a golf tournament annually known as the Kilted Golf Classic. However, no kilts are required to play, they are simply encouraged. The event is held at the Old Union Golf Course beginning at 11am with a tee time of 1pm. Enjoy food and prizes and lunch from Chick-fil-A. For more information, please follow this link: http://blairsvillescottishfestival.com/golf-classic/
  2. Girls Night Out: Enjoy one stop shopping at The Hackney Warehouse. Grab your girl friends for a fun night out while supporting local vendors. The event begins at 5pm with yummy food and drinks available. Don’t forget that Mother’s Day is coming up so this is the perfect opportunity to find something for Mom! For more information, please follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2064447500448802/
  3. Cruise In to the Farmers Market: The Blairsville Cruisers have big hearts and cool cars. Head over to the Union County Farmers Market from 4pm-7pm for music, food, trophies, door prizes, and of course some of the coolest rides in Northeast Georgia. For more information, please follow this link: http://blairsvillecruisers.com/
  4. Reservoir Dogs @ Copperhead Lodge: If you’re not really in the mood for mariachi then maybe some good ‘ol classic rock will get your toes tapping and your hands clapping. Not only does Copperhead Lodge feature a full restaurant and bar, but there is also lodging on site. For more information, please follow this link: http://www.thelodgeatcopperhead.com/index.cfm?content=1&Menu=1
  5. Old Courthouse Concert: It’s time for the summer concert season to begin in The Old Courthouse on the Square in Blairsville.  They have secured local resident and Hiawassee native, Alan Kendall for the first concert on Friday, May 5th, at 7:00 PM. Alan’s music is steeped in ministry, but he also performs a wide variety of musical styles from traditional and contemporary country to popular standards.  He easily presents a clean, family-oriented variety program for all ages. The summer concerts are presented by the Union County Historical Society as a public service and to keep alive the tradition of music in The Old Courthouse,  There is never an admission charge to the concerts.  Voluntary contributions to the maintenance fund are always welcomed and appreciated.

There is always something going on in the mountains from the peace and solitude of nature to events all around town. Keep up with the latest happenings by signing up for weekly events e-newsletters that will be delivered to your inbox every Monday morning by Clicking Here, or bookmark our event calendar and check back often: http://members.visitblairsvillega.com/events/calendar/2017-05-02