Gatlinburg stores see winter lull, business slowing after wildfi - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Gatlinburg stores see winter lull, business slowing after wildfires

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GATLINBURG - Gatlinburg businesses say business is slow two months after the start of the Sevier County wildfires. 

"I would say we’re anywhere from 30% to 40% down. It is not like December or January should be," said Melissa Cordero, general manager of Old Dad's General Store. 

“I’ve had a lot of customers come in and be surprised like, oh, I thought everything was burned down," she said. 

When the wildfire was at its peak in Gatlinburg, Old Dad's General Store remained open to feed first responders. 

“Yes, we fed them. Yes, we were here for them, but they were troopers. They were amazing," Cordero said. 

Jason Jain of the Donut Friar, a popular cafe in Gatlinburg, said he is seeing low numbers as well. 

“This is the slowest time of the year but it is off a bit and I assume that’s because a lot of cabins are gone that people are used to staying in," Jain said. 

He also believes not many people living outside of the area are aware that the town back on its feet. 

“I think the word is not out that everything is open, the town is safe and you should come back!” he said. 

Both Jain and Cordero say while the numbers are low, they are still able to continue operating their businesses as normal. However, they are hoping business will be back to normal soon. 

"The hotels are open. We are here. Come visit us. Come stay with us," Cordero said. 

WBIR contributed to this story

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