As Dollywood expands, so have some local businesses

8:37 PM, Aug 21, 2013   |    comments
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When Bill Kilpatrick opened the Apple Barn in the 1980s, his neighbors consisted of corn stalks and tobacco plants.

Now the bustling general store is flanked by several more businesses, including The Apple Barn's winery and restaurant.

In the beginning, there was no Dollywood. He says it wasn't until the superstar lent the attraction her name that things started to take off.

And with the town, the tourist season kept growing too.

"It used to be everybody quit right after Labor Day," recalled Kilpatrick. "But now it goes on with all the lights and things in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg."

At the announcement Monday morning, Dolly Parton announced her company's latest venture will include a 300 room resort called DreamMore, as well as a new roller roaster and a total of $300 million in capital investments in both the new and existing projects.

Kilpatrick's only hesitation at the news came when considering the already overburdened main roads running through town.

"When it gets real busy on the highway and it's just bumper to bumper, our business slows down," said Kilpatrick.

But overall he says he believes the project will be yet another boon for the Smoky Mountains.

"I think it will help to extend more publicity to more people," said Kilpatrick.

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