Friday April 19th, 2024 11:03PM

Landmark Tallulah Falls shop relocating after a quarter century

TALLULAH FALLS – For more than 100 years, visitors have stopped at the Tallulah Point lookout on Scenic Loop to admire Tallulah Gorge.

Long before the state park opened at the gorge in the mid-1990s, people were stopping on what formerly was U.S. 441 to get a closer look at the nearly two-mile-long, 1,000-foot deep canyon.

Tallulah Point Overlook, the business that has operated at the lookout since 1994, is relocating to a downtown location at the beginning of August. That move wasn’t planned, but things progressed quickly once the property owner let Mary Beth Hughes she would need to relocate her shop.

“I was excited that within the first 24 hours of getting the notice that we needed to vacate these premises I started leasing that old general store at 100 Main Street downtown – I use that term very loosely – Tallulah Falls,” Hughes said. “That made me feel good that I’ve had that to focus on because I knew that I had way too much stuff to just liquidate.”

Hughes said because the business has been located at a well-known landmark since Aug. 20, 1994, much of the merchandise is about Tallulah Gorge, Tallulah Falls and the area.

“I didn’t want to liquidate – I have so much Tallulah Falls merchandise,” Hughes said.

That merchandise includes souvenirs, regional books and hiking guides, jewelry, cabin accessories, reproduction tin toys, mountain playthings, locally made items, nostalgic gifts and more.

“Our first day here was Aug. 20, 1994, and to be honest with you we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into,” Hughes said. “It wasn’t our idea to have a big store. We were just looking for a place to rent out mountain bikes for the new state park, but it took on a life of its own and it grew into what it is now, which is a thriving tourist stop – and locals. I’ve got a great local clientele that comes here, too.”

When Hughes and her then-husband Don Bundrick opened the business in 1994, it was a seasonal business, operating April through November in only part of the building.

Over the years, the store expanded and leased the entire property, opening 363 days a year (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas).

“We’ve just amassed a wonderful catalog of vendors that we sell from,” Hughes said. “We do a lot of locally made, and I’m really happy to take that over to the new place. Basically, everything that I have here inventory wise, style wise, the look of this place, will be continued over there, and actually I feel like it will be amplified because it being an old general store I think that what I do here will really fit in there and there’s a of the original fixtures there that I’m excited about.”

A sneak-a-peek at the new Main Street location, that will be known as Tallulah Point General Store, is being held every weekend in July, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The new shop features dipped ice cream, fresh fudge, truffles and more.

“Over the years, I’ve gathered antiques as well that I like to use, so they’ll be over there,” Hughes said. “I just think it’s going to be a really nice spot and I’m really thrilled to still be in Tallulah Falls, because all my Tallulah Falls merchandise wouldn’t work anywhere else.”

Hughes said Tallulah Falls proper, located on the Habersham/Rabun County line, only has three businesses now, and that’s an increase from the height of the coronavirus shutdown.

“Actually, I was the only business still standing this spring – closed for COVID, got partially reopened,” Hughes said. “I’m glad that I will continue being a business in Tallulah Falls. Fortunately, we got the restaurant back. So, it’ll be me and the restaurant up there – Main Street Grill and Barbeque – and I think the gift shop over at the state park is now open, so it’s going to be the three of us.”

Asked what she will miss the most about the business’ current location, Hughes said, “Hands down, the view.”

Hughes said she has been working on the upstairs of the overlook building for the past few years and was going to turn it into a café and open it this year, but now that won’t happen.

“I’m really going to miss that,” Hughes said. “I’m going to miss the view upstairs and the porch, and I’m going to miss all the people that came here, and I’m hoping that the majority of them will find me at the other location, because it’s truly been the people that have come here year after year after year that have made my business successful and I look forward to seeing them at the new place.”

Those who want to visit Tallulah Point Overlook in its current location have until the end of the month to do so.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Business News, Local/State News, Georgia News
  • Associated Tags: Habersham County, Tallulah Gorge, Rabun County, Tallulah Falls, Tallulah Point Overlook
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