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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Staff Reports

Posted: Sunday, January 21, 2018 11:23 AM

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Gatlinburg Gets Much Needed Business Boost From Solar Eclipse Tourists

GATLINBURG - Business owners in Gatlinburg are thanking the eclipse for bringing in the most tourism they've seen in many months.

"Since Wednesday, it's been busier than it has been all this season," said manager of Old Dad's General Store Melissa Ramirez

At Ole Smoky Mountain Candy on the strip, business was out of this world. Especially for eclipse candy sales.

"We put it out last Friday and already sold out," said Molly Hungerford, an employee at the candy shop. "It's been busier than all summer here recently."

Donut Friar, a local favorite for the past 49 years, saw a nice boost in business. The donut shop's founder and co-owner James Ryan said it was a welcome change after losing much in the wildfires.

"I lost a home and three cabins but still, the world doesn't come to an end because of something like that," Ryan said.

The shop's quick sell-out of eclipse donuts was an indication of the eclipse-driven business boost to come.

"The business is really, really good. Yesterday at noon we were doing as well as we did last year the whole day," he said.

Back at Old Dad's and around the town, businesses are thankful for a much needed-gift from Mother Nature.

"You know, it's funny how everything works out," Ramirez said. "Nature in one way affected us back then in November and then nature today brings us the people. It's just how everything works, I guess."