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Weekend welcome
Chamber shows off new site
1 Chamber Open pic2
More than 150 people turned out for the ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 8 at the new Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and Welcome Center. - photo by Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Dawson County Chamber of Commerce officials got just what they were after over the weekend: a packed house.


Staff held a grand opening for the organization’s Ga. 400 location, inviting residents, business owners and tourists to see the new chamber facility and welcome center.


It kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 8, which drew more than 150 people, according to Marty Williams.


“It went great,” said Williams, the chamber vice president of tourism. “We were very happy, very pleased.”


Williams wasn’t alone.


“We figured the whole house was filled,” said Pam Hamalainen, the chamber’s membership director. “I think everybody was impressed.


“People said they were excited about the new location, and we feel we can capture much more traffic here.”


Visitors Michele Kraft and Amanda Thompson were impressed by the facility.


“It’s terrific,” Kraft said. “It’s in a convenient place.”


Thompson said she likes that it’s “out in the open. It lets you know it’s here.”


Visitors like Kraft and Thompson enjoyed hot apple cider and a meal, compliments of the chamber.


Hamalainen said visitors told her they enjoyed the atmosphere.


“When you come in, it really does feel like a welcome center,” she said. “You feel welcomed when you come in.”


The chamber moved to the new location in August after outgrowing its old facility in downtown Dawsonville.


The new 2,500-square-foot building is more than twice the size of the former headquarters, which was located in the historic jail.