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Merchants prepare for holiday fun on land, lake
Labor Day weekend signals end of summer season
Marina WEB 1
Chad Goff helps dock a boat Tuesday at Habersham Marina in preparation for Labor Day weekend. The marina and other local businesses are preparing for a busy holiday. - photo by Autumn McBride

Summer may be winding down, but retailers are preparing for a busy Labor Day weekend.

“Labor Day is an interesting holiday because people see it in a lot of different ways,” said Steve Reid, manager of the Super Target store on Market Place Boulevard in Cumming.

“Some see it as the last chance to get out on Lake Lanier, others like to spend the long weekend working around their home, and others see it as the first little break after school has started back.”

Kenny and Darlene Haddock, who manage Habersham Marina off Buford Dam Road near Cumming, said they’re expecting good crowds, although Labor Day business can be hard to forecast.

“Normally, [Labor Day weekend] is the last big hoorah of the summer,” Darlene Haddock said. “But it’s hard to predict.”

She added that the start of college football season and families with children in athletics sometimes means the holiday doesn’t draw as large of crowds as others over the summer.

“You have people who have to get their kids to some sort of practice and there’s of course those diehard football fans who can’t be torn away from the TV for anything,” she said.

Even if crowds aren’t huge this weekend, this summer has been a good one for business on Lanier.

“Sales really picked up this year,” Kenny Haddock said. “There’s a lot more to do on the lake now than there used to be.

“You have more resorts and more restaurants, so more people are taking advantage of that.”

They’ve also been taking advantage of unseasonably warm and dry weather.

“We think the season will last longer this year than it has in the past because it’s so dry and warm,” Darlene Haddock said.

“With Labor Day we’ll be getting close to the end of the season, but no cigar just yet.”

Over at Super Target, employees have readied merchandise for a range of weekend activities.

“Since it is a picnic holiday, we always [feature] food,” Reid said, noting some of this week’s sales items include spare ribs, pork chops and corn.

Brenda Reid, spokeswoman for Publix, said the grocery chain is also offering pork ribs and corn on the cob on sale this week, among other grilling items.

“In Georgia, Labor Day in technically the last grilling holiday before we start getting into Thanksgiving and Christmas,” she said. “So, it’s all about grilling this week.”

Some other items on sale include hot dogs, hamburger meat and fried chicken for picnics. In the bakery, customers will find deals on apple pie and patriotic cupcakes.

Both Publix and Target will offer sales on soft drinks, potato chips and grilling supplies like charcoal.

Steve Reid said some customers like to combine their Labor Day shopping with the last of their school year purchases.

“We still have a lot of back-to-school items on clearance for them,” he said.

Since Labor Day also marks the start of college football season, Steve Reid said the store will feature a number of sports-related items.

“We have a bunch of NFL and NCAA player jerseys on sale,” he said. “And of course the Atlanta Braves are still in the [playoff] hunt, so we have a full line of Braves gear, and of course all the UGA Bulldogs gear people could want.”

There are a number of home items on sale as well.

“There’s a lot in home and garden like tiki torches, deck boxes and rake and leaf supplies,” he said.

While many residents may stay home, others will head for Lake Lanier and area campgrounds.

Jodi Gardner, county spokeswoman, said Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest of the season, which ends Nov. 6, for Shady Grove Campground on Lanier.

“Usually all of the campground’s sites are booked for Labor Day and there are 113 campsites,” she said.

“Labor Day, Fourth of July and Memorial Day are the times of the year when the campground is typically completely booked.”