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City, Local Businesses Hope to Rebrand Scenic Highway

The shopping experience along Scenic Highway/Highway 124 will soon be more integrated and streamlined if things go according to plan.

A local business think tank, spearheaded by Economic Development Director Eric Van Otteren, has been meeting for close to a year now, focusing on the shops along Scenic Highway.  

The initiative, called Shop on Scenic, is a partnership between the city and local businesses. As of now, over 30 business owners meet regularly the first Thursday of the month to discuss plans of how they can work together to improve the business district in town. 

Branding will play a huge role in the marketing strategy.

“We’re trying to create that destination,” said owner Claude Baham. “We want Shop on Scenic to be the premier shopping area in Gwinnett County.” 

Snellville is taking great strides when it comes to business development.  Recently, the city was awarded the Regional Prosperity and Economic Development CREATE award by the Atlanta Regional Commission for its partnership with the .  The Shop on Scenic initiative is just the latest in a string of successful programs to encourage entrepreneurship and business development.

“We want to expose the fact that you can get anything you want on Highway 124,” said .  “The tactic is to build a group of local merchants to support that goal.”

Foy believes that the direction that the city council and mayor are going in will bring back a strong sense of community to Snellville, and he and his family want to be a part of that.  He notes that, back in the 80s and 90s, Highway 78 was the place where businesses wanted to be.  The marketplace moved away from 78 and toward 124 a few years ago, and now, it seems to be migrating further north. 

“There's a lot of growth going toward Lawrenceville,” he said, “which pulls the traffic flow that way.”

Taking a proactive approach to the direction the shoppers are going is crucial to the vitality of the city.

“We need a group that grows together and works together as a team,” he added.  

Affinity marketing strategies and co-branding are among some of their ideas to tie the area together.  Businesses involved could share advertising, and in a concept similar to one in Athens, Ga., put a sticker on their business windows that identifies them as part of the Shop on Scenic initiative.  

Some other plans that have been discussed are walking paths in the area, trolley carts and distinct signage that identifies the area clearly. 

Sam Thomas, owner of About Face Skin Care, has worked alongside Foy, Baham and Van Otteren to get this concept from dream to reality. Thomas grew up in Snellville, and now operates his business close to where he lived as a child. More than anything, Thomas said he hopes that this initiative will restore a sense of community to Snellville, something that Snellville Tourism and Trade has had a huge role in over the past couple of years.  

"If you want that hometown feel," he said, "shop locally."

If you want your business involved with Shop on Scenic, email info@shoponscenic.com or visit their website.  Be sure to check out their Facebook page as well. 

Brenda Kennedy August 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Do my shopping on Scenic but traffic can be horrible at times, like most of the time!
Sam Thomas August 17, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Hi Brenda, As business owners along Scenic, this is one of our primary concerns as well. Growing up in the area, I remember when Scenic use to be "Scenic", and traffic was minimal. However, with the formation of this group (SOS), we hope to give business a cohesive voice with local & state government in tackling traffic issues. Thanks for your comment.
Andrew King August 17, 2012 at 02:18 PM
It's fine except at Christmas, when I try to avoid 124
Crystal Huskey (Editor) August 17, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Great response Sam. Keep us posted with the progress of Shop on Scenic! Any thoughts on the traffic around the holidays? Is there any way for that to change?
Eric Van Otteren August 17, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Shop on Scenic vs. Mall of Georgia! Would you rather spend 50 minutes traveling to and from the Mall of Georgia or spend that time with your family and friends supporting community businesses on Shop on Scenic. I'm Shopping on Scenic.
Crystal Huskey (Editor) August 17, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Good point. We need a "like" button.

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