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Merchants ready with fare for Fourth

POSTED: July 4, 2013 12:05 a.m.
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Ron Medley looks over steaks at Ferguson’s Meat Market on Tuesday in preparation for a Fourth of July cookout.

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The Fourth of July weekend means gatherings with friends and family.

According to the National Retail Federation, seven out of 10 Americans plan to celebrate the long weekend with at least one barbecue, cookout or picnic.

That’s good news for Forsyth County retailers who specialize in festive food gatherings.

John Will, owner of Ferguson’s Meat Market in Coal Mountain, said the days leading up to and shortly after July Fourth are always full.

“It’s busy for probably a week and a half to two weeks before because a lot of people take off the Fourth of July week,” Will said.

He said this year’s holiday time period and has been especially busy.

“Having [Lake Lanier] full is really important right now,” he said. “There’s a lot of recreation, camping, fishing going on and I think that does correlate to our business. It’s not a single barometer, but it is important.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, the lake stood at 1,071.Xx* feet above sea level, which is nearly a foot higher than full pool.

As for the holiday period, Will said the nature of people’s celebrations is also ideal for his business.

“For the Fourth, it’s steaks, ribs, chicken, hamburgers … anything that can be put on the grill,” he said. “It’s just a high volume meat holiday. People buy anything that can be cooked out or made with family and friends.”

Similarly, area grocery stores were seeing steady sales this week, with customers stocking up on everything for their Independence Day gatherings.

Gregg Wohlenberg, manager of Kroger on Grassland Parkway in south Forsyth, said July 3 and 4 are particularly busy with customers coming in for last-minute items.

“Our most popular things would be in the meat department,” Wohlenberg said. “We also sell a lot more charcoal and lighter fluid.”

In addition, the bakery has plenty of patriotic sweet treats, said department manager Cody Turner.

“Anything we can do in red, white and blue we’ve done it this week,” he said. “We’ve got red, white and red cookies, cakes and brownies. We also made some special items like cakes that look like hamburgers for the Fourth.”

There also are plenty of party trays available in the deli and produce departments, Wohlenberg said.

“Ice will be the No. 1 grocery seller for the next several days,” he said. “We had to order an extra four or five pallets of ice.”

Back at Ferguson’s, Will has plenty of ready-made food to help with Fourth of July get-togethers too.

The business, which has been in the county for 22 years, also offers catering or to-go orders with barbecue and other fixings.

“We do a lot of catering at this time of year,” he said. “We get private parties, sometimes company parties. It’s a time of year that different groups and organizations will have get-togethers and functions, whether it’s a picnic or church or neighborhood party.

“Everybody tries to get together to see friends in the summer and hang out at the pool or the lake. Everybody likes to come out of their shell.”

 

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