Community at It’s Best: Chamber Mobile Welcome Center Project Completed Just in Time for B.R.A.G.

The Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce has been talking about our need for a mobile welcome center for over a year now.

This would enable us to have representation at local and regional community events to promote Toccoa-Stephens County. The doors began to open for us when Mr. Larry Dodd, a local resident and businessman offered to donate his trailer for the project.

To date, securing a trailer had been the biggest challenge as this project was not in the Chamber budget. Larry Dodd’s generosity and interest in promoting our community certainly helped get this ball rolling. From there we were looking for a team to help finish off the inside the trailer, so it could serve as a mini welcome center to include information on the various sites of interest and tourism in Toccoa-Stephens County. In a conversation with City Commissioner Gail Fry, she made a phone call and pitched the idea to our Stephens County High School Construction Department teacher, Mr. Brad Randall. With only a few weeks left in the school year, he gladly agreed to take on the project.

The SCHS Construction classes have taken a donated 7’x14’ trailer in great need of some TLC, and finished off the inside with paint, flooring, wiring, lighting and a tv mount to be used to help us better tell the story of Toccoa-Stephens County both here and afar. Our students have done a phenomenal job! This is just one more example of the many accomplishments of our SCHS CTAE programs and how they continue to excel and represent our community so well. The Collision Doctor and local body shop and new Chamber Member donated their time and did such a professional job painting the trailer, just in time for Jaymarz Signs to apply the Community Visit Toccoa Stephens County Logo along with the logo of each of the contributors to the project.

Thank you to Mr. Larry Dodd for your generous contribution and to Mr. Brad Randall and the SCHS Construction Classes for doing such a great job with this project and to City Commissioner Gail Fry for helping us make this connection. And many thanks to our local Chamber members The Collision Doctor and Jaymarz Signs for their contributions also.

All this came together just in time for us to have the Mobile Welcome Center Debut last week as one thousand cyclists with B.R.A.G. (Bicycle Ride Across Georgia) rolled into Toccoa last Friday. This event was quite a collaboration of amazing volunteers as once again our community came together to roll out the red carpet to deliver a solid and lasting positive first impression on a large group of visitors who might never have crossed our path otherwise.

It was exciting to see this project from beginning to end. At first, I must say it was a bit daunting and somewhat difficult to get my mind around. We pulled together a team of community leaders to take the project in pieces. Representatives from our Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Toccoa, Stephens County School Board, Toccoa Elementary School, City of Toccoa Police Department, Stephens County Sheriff’s Department, Stephens County E911 Emergency Services and our local Tour de Tugaloo Bicycle Race have been meeting for months leading up to the event. When the time came, and the cyclists were headed our way, it was my privilege to see this community in action. The B.R.A.G. cyclists all stopped at The Links at Lake Toccoa and Traveler’s Rest pit stops along the route through Stephens County. They wrapped up the tour as the basecamp was located at Toccoa Elementry School. Our local hotels and Bed and Breakfast were full of B.R.A.G. cyclists. Toccoa Elementary School cafeteria and gym was lined with bed rolls of those who wanted to rest in the comfort of the air conditioning. Boyd Field was full of tents for those who preferred to camp out under the stars.


Our local businesses, retail stores and restaurants delivered quality customer service with a smile. Local volunteers stepped up welcome and shuttle our guests all over town from 1pm to 10pm Friday night. We showed off Toccoa-Stephens County from Ping’s Grill at Lake Toccoa, Toccoa Falls, Currahee Military Museum, Miles Through Time Automotive Museum, Currahee Vineyards, Camp Toccoa at Currahee, Tugaloo Bend Heritage Park and Yonah Dam. We also had shuttles running all up and down Big A Road stopping at restaurants and stores all along the way.

We could never have accomplished this without the full support of our local City and County Officials and countless volunteers who worked tirelessly and went above and beyond the call to make a lasting first impression of Toccoa-Stephens County that would make them want to come back again.

Thank you to all who played a part in this event and who made such a great impression of our guests. Southern hospitality at its best! The feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive. I love it when faced with a task, our community comes together to get the job done with excellence. This is what sets us apart from the rest. Our people make the difference and its why I always say…Toccoa-Stephens County is a great place to do business and an even greater place to do life!


Julie PaysenComment