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Local business sews up tourist event

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Tourism in Rome isn’t always about tennis, church conventions, or air shows. The Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors learned Wednesday that a large crowd is expected in Rome for a three-day Sew Holiday hosted by Stephanie Bradshaw and Susan Horton, owners of The Stitchery, 9 Central Plaza, Nov. 4-6.

“We hope to grow this event every year,” Bradshaw said. They had hoped the event would be based out of the new Courtyard by Marriott Hotel on West Third Street; however, CVB Executive Director Lisa Smith said the Marriott was not taking any group bookings until January. The event will be based out of the Hampton Inn & Suites, 875 W. First St.

The Sew Holiday event offers participants a chance to craft their own holiday projects ranging from sewing to embroidery to quilting. “We provide the machines and the instructors,” Bradshaw said. “We need four conference rooms because we’ll have people coming from Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida and the Carolinas.”

“We do need to recognize what our small businesses are doing,” said Allison Watters, the Floyd County Commission liaison to the CVB board.

The Stitchery has been recognized by the University of Georgia as one of the 100 fastest growing businesses owned by UGA alumni. The business ranked 28th on the list in the past year. The business was also just recognized in the fall/winter issue of Quilt Sampler magazine.

“We have a clear niche at the shop, which is technology and education,” Horton said.

The Aug. 31 financial report presented to the tourism board showed activity tracked by the CVB has had an $8.77 million economic impact on Rome and Floyd County. $6.71 million of that was directly related to sports tourism.

Smith explained those are direct expenditures related to activities her office plays a role in. It does not include any multiplier effect. The spending through August was up 24.7 percent over the same first eight months of 2016.

Tina Talton with the Wings Over North Georgia Air Show, being held Oct. 21-22, said ticket sales are running 400 percent ahead of last year. “The Blue Angels coming here is just phenomenal,” Talton said.