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Gainesville rolls out downtown welcome

Tourism manager, shop owner run new kiosk on the square

POSTED: October 20, 2013 10:05 p.m.
Catiel Felts/For The Times

Deb Gregson speaks to John and Kelly Castleberry about information on events and places to see in Gainesville.

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As more visitors are drawn to the downtown square than any other site in Gainesville, businesses there are seeing an influx of customers.

But what about the other potentially interesting features of the city? Many visiting the square see only what is in front of them.

Because of this, the Gainesville Tourism and Trade introduced its new information kiosk during the Blue Sky Concert Series on the square Wednesday.

Tourism and trade manager Deb Gregson, who is manning the kiosk until a larger volunteer base is available, said the rolling information center is more convenient than finding the tourism office.

“We’re all closed on weekends,” Gregson said on the square Sunday. “So we thought, you know what, we need to have someplace where (visitors) can get the information.”

When it is not out on the square, the kiosk stays inside Don Griffin’s store, Frames You-Nique. Gregson and Griffin displayed it in front of the store again on Sunday.

“Don has always been such an advocate for the city and for the county and the things that are going on,” Gregson said.

“So if we can’t be here, he’s got all the information right there.”

Griffin said the kiosk has already attracted attention from his customers, with whom he already makes regular conversation, mainly because of the bright, colorful design.

“I had a couple of people comment about how pretty the logo was,” Griffin said. “I talk all the time. That’s why they volunteered me for this.”

This has been a learning experience not only for visitors, but for longtime residents who see the information desk in the store, he said.

“Even the locals that have been up here a couple years, there’s still things they don’t know about,” he said. “They’re asking for what to do, primarily.”

Although few volunteers have been available, some members of the community, such as the Newcomers’ Club, have expressed an interest in running the kiosk.

Gregson said the information desk makes visitors and residents more aware of things happening around them.

“Mainly, people have said, ‘Oh, I didn’t even know,’” she said. “We try to keep everything current here, so anything going on, we want them to be able to find it easily.”

There is no shortage of maps, brochures and flyers at the kiosk. Due to the various events coming in the fall and holiday seasons, those who visited the kiosk Sunday took plenty of information brochures with them.

Some of these upcoming events include this week’s art attraction, The Traveling Show, which starts at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue, travels around Gainesville and ends back at the venue. It will include the 66th annual Members’ Exhibition at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center on Green Street.

Gregson will run the kiosk with Griffin’s assistance for the rest of the month only when large crowds are expected, she said.

“I’ll be out here on Halloween when we have Trick or Treat on the Square,” Gregson said. “I’ll also be out here for Marketplace.”

When other events are happening on the square, Gregson and her co-workers are sure to be welcoming the crowds to learn more about Gainesville.


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