ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Carter County Car Club usually starts their Saturday cruise-ins in April, but this year the Elizabethton City Council voted to move the start date to May.
“I didn’t like the idea of losing a month of time of what we have on this and I’d like to get it back,” said Tom Franklin, president of the Carter County Car Club.
“Nobody wants to go to the same gallery and see the same artwork, and the same thing goes with any other event that takes up the same space,” said Justin Mclane, owner of Wayward Springs Tack and Consignment. “So, I think starting later probably created some more interest with the people in the community who do enjoy the car show.”
Mclane says his business has been impacted by the car show on Saturdays.
“Some of our customers have let us know that they won’t be coming here on Saturdays because they don’t want to deal with trying to find parking, said Mclane. “We have expensive heavy saddles that they have to carry to their car. So parking becomes an issue.”
Rita Russell, owner of Simply Blessings General Store says that parking has not bothered her customers. She says the car show helps bring in repeat customers.
“The car show is a tremendous help to our business,” said Russell. “We’ve always said since we opened, if we hadn’t had the car show, we would not have been able to stay in business. It brings in a tremendous amount.’
“We’ve never had direct parking in front of our store. All of our customers always find us, no matter what part of town they park in,” Russell added.
Mclane would like to see more cooperation between business owners and the car club.
“We offer a 10% discount. We actually extended our hours for the summertime so that we do overlap the car show,” said Mclane. “I would like to see maybe different locations, give downtown a little bit of a break. Move to E Street right behind us or other locations.”
“It’s just a part of downtown Elizabethton, and there’s not any towns around here like it thas anything like this.,” said Brian Vines, cruise-in attendee. “And to bring this many people down here and to do it for children, I don’t know why they wouldn’t want it. Keep it here.”
The Carter County Car Club takes up donations at the cruise-ins for children’s charities.
The Carter County Car Club will host cruise-ins every Saturday evening from 5 to 9 p.m. through the end of October.