[tag-tec]Gatlinburg[/tag-tec], TN has always been a hot tourist area. Then came Pigeon Forge and now Sevierville, Dolly Parton’s hometown.
I’ve been observing this area closely for about twenty years. I can’t believe the growth that has occurred just within the last five years. I honestly thought back in 2001, that it couldn’t get any bigger, more money couldn’t be made, and the real estate had to go flat at some point.
Boy, was I wrong.
Is it still a good place to invest? Perhaps. But you have to understand it’s getting to be a more mature market. You won’t be getting in ahead of the curve. It’s more mid-curve. But that’s okay, if you know what you’re doing.
Here’s the thing. I spent the weekend there and I still can’t get over the crowds. People were everywhere on a January weekend. When I was in Junior High back in the early 70’s, it pretty much closed down after November 1st. Naturally, the Spring-like weather this past weekend didn’t hurt. People were in their shirt-sleeves.
But I noticed something important about the crowds. They were made up of all age groups, but there were many young people. Maybe it was the first time visit for a lot of them. Does that spell out an opportunity?
And it’s interesting to watch them. Out on a hiking trail a group of folks was pushing an older lady in a wheelchair, high up on a mountain side with sheer cliff drops-offs just inches away. I couldn’t believe it. Another couple was carrying a small three month old baby.
They want the Smokey Mountain experience pretty badly and they’re willing to spend a lot of money and effort to get it. Their reward- seeing some of the most spectacular scenery in the country.
On the way home, my friends wanted to stop at this mega –store called Knife World, or something like that. I was bored out of my mind until we actually got in there. Then I saw another rabid market of people, men and women, who were absolutely passionate about knives. It really made me think-hard. A lot of people go to Gatlinburg just to shop.
So what am I pointing out here?
Location is still vitally important. But passions and markets are extremely important also. If you can combine the two you’ve got a great investing opportunity. Some people who bought in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area twenty years ago while I was reluctant to, have made fortunes. Others have lost money, but that’s where the skill in investing comes into play.
How does this relate to us now?
There will probably be future Gatlinburgs. Get out there and look around. As in my case, the prize may be in your own back yard.