Whew! March and April were really busy months at the Chamber. With the Cotton Blossom Roundup Rodeo and the first Berrien County Fair in quite sometime plus planning the Administrative Professional Luncheon, it was hopping in our office.
The purpose in planning and scheduling special events for the county is all about helping our businesses to have additional foot traffic whether it be a restaurant or a retail business. It is all about a new source of sales for our local businesses and sales tax revenue for our towns, city and county. And, of course, this is why we are constantly encouraging everyone to “Buy Berrien!”
After our rodeo and fair, we took a look at the businesses that would have benefitted the most from these two events. Since these events took place at night or late afternoon, we decided that it would be our local restaurants that would have seen increased traffic. With that in mind, we contacted several restaurants to get their feedback on their sales during these two events.
It came as no surprise to us that practically all restaurants were impacted positively by the two events in March and April. It was also brought to our attention, something we already suspected, that other events such as the auctions at Turner Auction Group and dances held at the VFW on Saturday nights also boosted sales for our local restaurants particularly, Off the Hook Seafood, Rancho Alegre, Puerta Del Sol and Huddle House. So, not only do Chamber sponsored events bring in extra traffic so do special events by other businesses. The Berrien County Recreation Department also helps to boost sales in the restaurant segment of the county.
The only way to judge the increase in sales tax revenues is to visit the Georgia Department of Revenues website and look at sales tax distribution to our cities and county. However, when doing so, keep in mind that all businesses do not submit their sales tax payments at the same time so it is difficult to use these numbers entirely when looking at increases in sales tax revenue.
With that said, let’s take a look at our sales tax revenues for March. The LOST sales tax revenues were up in Alapaha, Enigma, Nashville, Ray City and Berrien County in March across the board as were the SPLOST sales tax revenues for Berrien County and the ELOST sales tax revenues for the Board of Education. The sales tax for Alapaha were $3,671.95; Enigma – $3,674.04; Nashville – $21,710.12; Ray City – $4,337.03 and Berrien County – $74,170.98.
SPLOST revenues were $107,563.25 and ELOST revenues were $108,896.32.
Did the upward trend continue into April? Let’s take a look! In April LOST sales tax revenues for Alapaha were $3,949.29; Enigma – $3,951.32; Nashville –
$23,341.18 and Ray City – $4,664.88. SPLOST revenues were $115,703.63 and
ELOST revenues were $116,967.89. As you can see the upward trend did extend into the month of April. Great news for everyone.
Other factors may have been in play but we think that our special events did contribute to this upward trend. It really pays to support our local businesses and don’t forget that the people who travel to Berrien County to visit our local auction or dance at the VFW are tourists who are also contributing to our local economy. When you see someone that is from out of town shopping in our county, be sure to give them a big dose of good old “Southern Hospitality.” They help to raise our local sales tax revenues and that is good news for everyone.