Peanut Festival Impact on Local Business

By: Lisa Blackwell Email
By: Lisa Blackwell Email

Families from around the country flock to Dothan for the National Peanut Festival every year and spend their hard earned money.

Even though thousands of people attend every year, not all of them spend their money at local restaurants.

Conestoga Owner Larry Toole says his establishment sees a ten percent decrease in revenue during the event. “We're fortunate enough to get some business because we've been here so long. Some folks will drop by being in town and eat with us, but it's never enough to make up for all of the guys who went to the fair.”

Restaurant Owner Katie Hart says during the festival, her business is down 20 to 30 percent. “Everyone is saving their money to spend at the fair. So you know their saving it, spending it and don't have any left.”

And, it's not just businesses that suffer, but employees as well.

Waiter Amanda Lamb, at the River Nile said, “It has taken a bite out of my budget and it's not really fair to my girls because all of their friends have gone to the fair at least once. “It's hard to take them because it would be like two or three days worth of tips to go to the peanut festival.”

Some restaurants say they’ve seen an increase in business during the peanut festival. A representative from Applebee’s says they've seen a slight increase in traffic during their dinner hour.

Friday’s management says business is up.

Manager Mike Bryan said, “Earlier in the afternoon you see a little bit of an increase in business. People come and eat before they go out there and then late at night, we are open until 2:00 in the morning everyday. Lots of times when people are leaving they want to go somewhere to eat so we give them that option by being open late.”

Dobb's Restaurant Owner Euell Lee Dobbs Jr. says they sell food to a local church that sells the food at a booth at the fair.

While Dobb's doesn't profit from the sale, they do have an advertising presence at the event.

A restaurant's business this last weekend was brisk.

Dobbs said, “We had a good weekend this week and it'll be going on all week, so it does help us.”

So, while the festival has its ups and downs, it seems that its financial impact on Dothan has it's up and downs as well.

Thursday night, we will take a look at the financial impact of the peanut festival on the folks who attend every year.

On Friday, attendance at the peanut festival was up 15 percent over last year's opening night.


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