At the Dec. 6 meeting of the Dawsonville City Council, the mayor and council members were given a presentation of the annual Director’s Report about the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame by Executive Director Cindy Elliott.
In her presentation, Elliott updated the council on the museum’s revenue and the business that it brought into the county in the past year. According to Elliott, more than 89 percent of museum visitors travel over 50 miles to visit the racing hall of fame, and customers spend an average of $772 while in the Dawson County community.
Elliott said that, over the past year, the museum has undergone several makeovers and updates, including the new Chase Elliott exhibit and remodels to the Gordon Pirkle Room. The museum also participated with the city with car shows, food truck Fridays and the Mountain Moonshine Festival, as well as organizing and hosting the first annual ghost tour.
According to Elliott, museum ticket sales in 2021 brought in over $100,000. Chase Elliott merchandise brought in $72,304.84, fundraising brought in $24,777.22, the live auction brought in $21,602.00 and room rentals brought in $19,984.00
The total revenue for 2021 was $391,464.90, a large increase from past years, according to Elliott.
“If you look at the comparison from 2019 through 2021, we’re on schedule to make $400,000 this year,” Elliott said. “In 2019, revenues were $56,000 and in 2020 it was $18,000 but they were closed because of covid, so $56,000 was kind of the average that the museum brought in over the previous years before that and so we’ve done pretty well with the renovations that we’ve done and the increase in ticket prices and the increase in the flow of tourism that we’re seeing now at the museum.”
Elliott said that she and her team are working hard to continue growing the museum through building and growing their social media. In 2022, she said that she hopes to work on a project to make the entrance more prominent, and she said that she is busy applying for grants and funding to allow for future expansion on the museum.
She added that the museum has a full calendar in the works for 2022, with the same participations in car shows and festivals but adding in the museum’s first car auction in April.
“We have a car auction that we’re pretty excited about; that’s something that we’ve always wanted to do at the museum,” Elliott said. “It’s really what the museum was intended to promote — car shows and car auctions — and this will be our very first one.”
Following Elliott’s presentation, Dawsonville Mayor Mike Eason commended her for the job she has been doing as the museum’s director.
“I think the leadership that Cindy has shown in the past year has really directed the museum in a positive manner,” Eason said. “Not having somebody in charge like Cindy is was a real problem for the museum, and I think having her there is giving it structure and control and it’s really working well.”