Cordele- workers spent the day keeping up the good name behind the State Farmers Market in Cordele. "It's a good place for people to come and buy vegetables that's in season. We have something in season year round," says Market Manager Bill Dorough.
Tourism in Crisp County is something the Chamber of Commerce would like to see year-round. That's why they are using the Farmer's Market as a major marketing tool to bring in more visitors to the area. Dorough explained "We put up billboards on I-75. We've never done that before." Those billboards are already bringing in people from all over the country. "A lot, probably an increase of about 100 percent of out of state cars, "said Dorough.
Soon, people who visit the market won't have to wait to taste their in season fruits and vegetables. They can go right to the farmers market restaurant that will seat about 150 people. They can then walk outside to buy enough to make plenty of their own meals at home.
It appears the Farmer's Market will be a sure bet, but the community is also counting on other area attractions to bring in more tourists. Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce President Monica Simmons explains "We feel like people coming to the Farmers Market will also want to go and ride the Sam Short-Line train. We have Georgia Veteran's State Park. We have full golf courses here, the retreat at Lake Blackshear."
A boost in tourism is a priority for Cordele and Crisp County but they also want people to see that it's a nice place to retire. Simmons says "Our climate is wonderful. The snowbirds like to get away from the cold winters, our southern hospitality. We have everything they would want."
Students at Crisp County High school are helping to boost the local economy.
Kids in Susan Fuller's marketing class are learning marketing techniques and strategies through creative projects like playdoh inventions and puppet shows.
They plan to apply what they learn to help boost tourism and community involvement in their area. Fuller explains "It just gets them thinking about how these products are made, who comes up with them, how are they going to sell them, and how are they going to market them, and it gives them a better understanding of what's going on in our market place."
In the Spring, marketing students will create a brochure to attract senior citizens to retire in Crisp County.
Tourists and new residents have what this community wants. That's spending power that will improve the economy.