Holiday shopping leads to Sevier County tourists

Holiday decorations are up inside the Incredible Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) – Thousands of holiday shoppers have hit Sevier County and are spending money for the season.

Businesses in Sevier County say weekends have been busy, and this past weekend it was hard for them to keep merchandize on the shelves. At Ole Smoky Moonshine in Gatlinburg, people were not only sampling moonshine, but also buying items.

"Everybody's in a big hurry to get their shopping done. So we're full staffed to get everyone in and out," said Tiffany Simonis, Retail Manager at Ole Smoky Moonshine.

Shoppers are coming from all over for the sights, sounds, and shopping of the Smokies. Kelly Goings made a trip from Cincinnati with her husband, and says the bargains are an attraction for her to come back.

"Oh it's great and the prices are a lot better than they are back home and the differences of the items you can get here," said Goings. "Everywhere we've gone the sales have been amazing, the people have been amazing too."

Even folks not far away say Gatlinburg is a great place for holiday shopping. Bonnie Cannon drove from Knoxville to find the unique items she says Knoxville doesn't offer.

"Knoxville has all the traditional stores, the malls and that kind of thing, but there people here in Gatlinburg have things that you may have to order on line," said Cannon.

Retailers say the people making day trips from Knoxville are really helping boost sales. They also believe Sevier County's Winterfest is a big draw for folks when shopping hours are over.

"I think Gatlinburg has done a good job of promoting winter and all we have going on here," said Simonis.

Stores like the Tanger Outlets say they plan on extended hours through Christmas, and they believe their busiest time will be this weekend.

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