By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | When the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns hit Haywood County in March, business owners braced for the worst. Some closed their doors forever, while others scrambled for ways to reopen under the new normal. Months later, local entrepreneurs were able to give a retrospective on how they survived and changed with the times.
With the economic powerhouse that is Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort surfacing as one of the pandemic era’s most-impacted local businesses, it stands to reason that the future of Cherokee’s business community would be among the region’s most uncertain.
By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | It’s 10 O’Clock on a Monday morning. I stroll into J. Gabriel Home and Gifts on Waynesville’s Main Street and am greeted by a blur of commotion. Though the store’s just opened, people are already popping in and milling around displays of jewelry, clothes and chocolate truffles. There’s a flash of grey fur by my feet and I’m suddenly being nuzzled by a gorgeous ice-eyed husky. Pleasantly shocked, I reach down to pet it, but am interrupted by a short whistle that sends the dog careening away across the shop.
I was walking my animal last night at sunset, enjoying the evening views and cool temps, thinking back to the July 4 weekend. Along the way, it hit me that half of 2020 is now in the history books. The verdict is still out as to how this time will be viewed by those who look back, but hell, it sure feels like the world is in a different orbit.
After years of languishing in the shadows of a shuttered amusement park, Maggie Valley’s west end is now seeing substantial commercial development resulting in several major new or renovated businesses.
By Gerri Wolfe Grady • Special to SMN | Customer service is an important commodity for any business and particularly to those locations reliant on tourism. This is an area that isn’t necessarily taught or trained with new employees, often because of time constraints or because the business owner hasn’t given it any thought. This essay was developed to provide a different view of customer service and how it was conveyed for 20 years by my father, Jerry Wolfe, greeter at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
By Bob Scott • Guest Columnist | I am in the market for a good, slightly used, Ouija Board.I need it to make accurate predictions of what is to come in Franklin and our westernmost counties as we face uncertain times and as we begin to reopen.
COVID-19 has been devastating health-wise as well as economically.
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