Big Deal For Senoia: 750,000 copies of travel guide feature town on cover

alt

Senoia Downtown Development Authority Chairwoman Suzanne Helfman shows off the new Georgia Travel Guide covers that feature Senoia. Also shown is part of Senoia’s movie history — a poster from the old Senoia Theater.

By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
sarah@newnan.com
Senoia has already become a tourist destination, with visitors flocking to see its shops and dine in its restaurants — and see where scenes from “The Walking Dead” have been filmed, or to visit the Southern Living Idea House, which was open last year from early summer through December.
But tourism might be ready to explode in the eastern Coweta town now that it is on the cover — make that two versions of the cover — of the 2013 Georgia Travel Guide.
For the first time ever, the state has produced two separate covers for the guide, which includes information about a range of Georgia tourist attractions and is in the state’s 11 visitor information centers, and featured in local visitor centers including Coweta’s in the historic Coweta County Courthouse on Newnan’s Court Square.
The state is printing 750,000 copies of the guide. The Coweta Visitor’s Center will be sharing plenty with the Senoia Welcome Center on Main Street.
One cover pictures “Walking Dead” star Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) and three zombies standing on Senoia’s Main Street, which stands in for the walled city of Woodbury in the popular AMC television network series. The other cover features country music star Zac Brown sitting down to a burger at his downtown Senoia restaurant, store and performance venue — the Southern Ground Social Club.

The guide also includes a short story about Senoia and a short interview with Brown, as well as advertisements placed by the Senoia Downtown Development Authority and the Coweta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The new guide was unveiled by Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday during a celebration of Georgia Tourism Day.

Suzanne Helfman, chairman of the Senoia Downtown Development Authority, said she learned about a month ago that Senoia would be featured on the guide’s cover.

It’s definitely a big deal for Senoia.

“The exposure that we will get from people who have never heard of this town or have never been here will just be tremendous,” said Helfman. “We’re kind of on the radar of the state. That is why this all happened,” she said.

The state decided to go with the dual covers because there are two major things going on in Senoia — the “Walking Dead” filming, and Brown’s recent involvement.

“There were these two big stories about this one town, which is pretty amazing,” Helfman said. “So they wanted to cover them both.”

In addition to “The Walking Dead,” Senoia has been the setting for Lifetime television network show “Drop Dead Diva,” as well as several movies over the years. The owners of the local movie studio, now known as Raleigh Studios Atlanta, also got into the real estate business and purchased several vacant lots downtown, adding historically-inspired buildings and remodeling several existing buildings.

Tourism in Senoia got a jump-start in 2010 with the Southern Living Idea House. But 2012 was the banner year, with “The Walking Dead,” Zac Brown and another Southern Living Idea House all coming to town.

With the new tourism guides, Helfman expects even more visitors.

And that’s exactly what they had been hoping for.

When Helfman first joined the DDA, the organization’s focus was “that tourism is economic development for the merchants of the town,” Helfman said, which was long before many tourists came to sleepy little Senoia.

“But we were planning and did a Welcome Center and had it up and operational even before we had become a destination for tourism.”

In addition to those coming because they are fans of Brown, “The Walking Dead” or Southern Living magazine, “we’ve become a dining and shopping destination,” Helfman said. “It’s a perfect day trip for areas north of Atlanta. We get a lot of visitors who say ‘well, I heard about this town and we just wanted to come down and see it,’” Helfman said.

Five years ago, “people didn’t know,” Helfman said. “They’d never heard of [Senoia].”

“We couldn’t be more thrilled” about the new statewide exposure, she said.



More Business

Owner, H.J. Wings & Things, Sharpsburg

60 Seconds with Russ Lowery

What do you feel is the most unique aspect your business offers its patrons? We are your local family restaurant that has a very unique at ... Read More


Business Briefs

Hampton Inn supporting Back 2 School Extravaganza Hampton Inn is supporting Hear Me Sing LLC’s Back 2 School Extravaganza school suppl ... Read More


Troup Factory was early industrial town

Although western Georgia was settled by farmers, early in the region’s history, there were people in those early days who saw opportun ... Read More


Business Briefs

Prancing Penny’s joins Pet Sitters International Prancing Penny’s Pet Sitting, which provides services in Coweta, Carroll, Doug ... Read More


WGTC students build stand

Millstone a reminder of industrial history

Students at West Georgia Technical College have crafted a stand for the millstone from Troup Factory, one of the first industrial towns in t ... Read More

Cowetans played role in development of factory town

Troup Factory was not far from Coweta County – although further in terms of travel in the 1800s than today. It is not surprising that ... Read More