SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Labor Day marks the official end of summer for many, including people who work in the travel and tourism industry. WATE 6 On Your Side News used it as a day to check in on the industry in Sevier County.
“Last summer, we did have to close, back in March,” said Sue Reagan. Reagan is the Manager of the Mountain Cove Gift Shop along the Parkway in Pigeon Forge. The shop opened in 1983.
“A few months have been really good considering the pandemic that we’ve been having, people sick and all, this month has been a little slow start,” she said. Reagan explained this summer had been better than last, but she is nowhere near pre-pandemic levels.
She said one of the toughest parts of the recovery through this pandemic finding workers. “There is a lot of jobs and not enough workers, that’s anywhere all over town,” she began. “Anyone that wants a job, they’re welcome to come here.”
Just a quick drive away, the Director of Marketing and Communications with the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce, said they’re experiencing the opposite. “For this year, we have seen our strongest June and July on record,” said Amanda Marr.
Marr said she thinks a large part of Sevierville businesses being on an upswing is more people heading to the mountains throughout the pandemic. “We really saw a lot of people experiencing Sevierville and the Smokey Mountains for the first time who had never visited here before, so I think there is a lot of opportunity with that we have a very high repeat visitation rate anyway in the area,” said Marr.
While her city continues to grow, she reminded people to shop local, so next year’s Labor Day can be good for everyone.
“Before the pandemic, Labor Day weekend was really one of the biggest weekends that we would have,” said Reagan. “This year, it’s not so great.”
Reagan said the Mountain Cove Gift Shop will be hiring for more than half a dozen positions this fall and winter. She said people can reach out to them for application information. They are located at 3410 Parkway #2 in Pigeon Forge.