Editor's Note: This article is part of a new online series launched in July 2023 by the City of Gainesville intended to highlight and promote must-try businesses in the area of the historic square in downtown Gainesville, Georgia. As the community continues to flourish and welcome new restaurants, retailers and service providers – especially within the downtown corridor – leadership wishes to introduce available offerings to residents and visitors alike ahead of their next trip to the City of Gainesville. Must-Try Monday features will be released weekly via gainesville.org and the @GainesvilleGeorgiaGovernment (City of Gainesville, Georgia) Facebook page. Be sure to "Like" and follow us on social media so you don't miss the latest and greatest about the Hospitality Capital of the World!
Gainesville Visitor Center | 300 Henry Ward Way, Suite 100 | Open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (July 24, 2023) – Tucked next to Old Historic Gainesville City Hall and on the first floor of the Gainesville Administration Building lives the Gainesville Visitor Center, home of the Gainesville Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).
Past the entryway doors beyond a canopy of illuminated City of Gainesville signage sits a treasure trove of information about the community and the best ways to experience it. An umbrella for Main Street Gainesville and Lake Lanier Olympic Park, CVB staffers always have the latest and most exclusive details about upcoming activities, events and offerings, to include new attractions, restaurants, retailers and services in the Hospitality Capital of the World.
“We are open and ready to assist anyone eager to learn more about the City of Gainesville or the Gainesville CVB," said Welcome Center Manager Deb Gravitt. "Come visit us from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday in suite 100 of the Gainesville Administration Building, located at 300 Henry Ward Way."
Within the magazines, brochures and rack cards proudly displayed on the walls are pointers on where to eat, play, shop and stay the next time you’re in Gainesville. The Gainesville Visitor Center is also a wealth of information when it comes to City-provided services as staffers can confidently point customers to the proper department or building to take care of official business.
Learn the ins and outs of the Gainesville Visitor Center, what makes it a Must-Try Monday-worthy stop and why you should make it a destination the next time you're in downtown Gainesville by reviewing the exclusive Q+A with Gravitt below.
Q: When did your business open and where? If your business has operated at other locations, please list those.
A: The Gainesville Convention and Visitors Bureau has been around for a long, long time, but the City of Gainesville’s official “Welcome Center” was debuted in September 2020 after renovations were made to the existing Gainesville Administration Building. CVB staffers are usually the first faces you see when you walk into the building and the last ones you see when exiting the campus.
Q: How long have you been operating on the historic square in downtown Gainesville?
A: Since our beginning! The Gainesville CVB has been the entity behind your favorite events and offerings since 2010.
Q: What drew you to operate your business in downtown Gainesville?
A: With the downtown campus – to include the historic square – being the heart of Gainesville, is there anywhere better to operate than in the middle of it all? We think not! Operating just off Roosevelt Square gives us front-row seats to all the action and happenings so we can communicate the latest and greatest to the very people we serve – residents and visitors alike.
Q: What kinds of products and/or services does your business offer to the public?
A: The Gainesville CVB takes pride in distributing valuable information and resources to residents and visitors alike. While we’re rich in handouts, maps and merchandise, our friendly staff is also rich in EXPERIENCE. Our staffers know all the best places to enjoy in Gainesville because Gainesville has been our home – either currently or in the past. Even during our off time, you’ll see us in town because Gainesville is home to some of our favorite go-to places. Gainesville and Hall County have attractions, restaurants and local shopping that are hard to beat! Besides knowledge of our area, we are also a help for those planning a trip, a family or high-school reunion, business meetings or conferences and weddings.
Q: Can you give some examples of unique products and/or services you offer that aren’t easily replicated elsewhere in town?
A: One of our most-used services is to help larger groups coming into town (this could be sporting events, weddings, conferences, etc.) make arrangements with our local hotels and motels for room blocks. We are often the connection or can introduce a connection between the event planner and a lodging facility, meeting facility or a business that can provide spaces to meet, catering, dining, as well as provide enhancements to their event. The Gainesville CVB also consists of our Main Street Program and Lake Lanier Olympic Park. So if you are familiar with the First Friday concerts downtown, Jingle Mingle or Food Truck Fridays out at the park ... that’s us! We’re the Fun-Making Crew! We also design and produce Gainesville merchandise that we sell year round at our events and also at our Visitor Center.
Q: What offerings are you most proud of and why? Give us the scoop!
A: In addition to our merchandise, the Gainesville CVB is responsible for organizing and hosting some of your favorite community events. It’s beyond rewarding to see the smiles left on people’s faces when they attend and enjoy Mutts on Main, any one of the shows offered during the Blue Sky and First Friday concert series, the new in 2023 Art Walk, Trick or Treat on the Square, Jingle Mingle and Lighting of the Chicken, and Christmas on Green Street, all on or around the historic square; plus Food Truck Fridays, Beach Bash and the Gainesville Chicken Festival, all held at Lake Lanier Olympic Park. The Gainesville CVB is also behind other specialty events, like the 2021-22 Georgia Police & Fire Games, the 1996 Olympic Games 20th Anniversary Celebration, etc.
Q: Do you target a specific audience? If so, can you please specify?
A: Everyone, to include residents and visitors alike. We often help new students from out of town studying at one of our local colleges, new residents who have just settled in the area, prospective residents looking to retire in Gainesville, future business owners vetting out available properties within the area, etc.
Q: If you aim to target everyone, can you please explain how and through what products and/or services?
A: If you’re in the City of Gainesville, we’re glad you’re here! We welcome everyone with open arms and will always do our best to answer their questions, make them feel welcome and point them in the right direction depending on where they’re trying to go.
Q: What is your favorite “must try” item you offer and why? Feel free to name more than one!
A: If you haven’t already, you absolutely MUST try coming to one of our events. The entertainment coupled with the tight-knit community feel will not disappoint and leave you looking forward to our next event!
Q: In your own words, what makes your business a positive addition to the downtown cityscape?
A: We are the Cheerleaders for our Historic Downtown and the City of Gainesville as a whole. We take pride in always promoting and finding ways to make our community, our local businesses and our visitors thrive, and have a great place to call home!
Photo cutline | The entrance to the Gainesville Visitor Center, facing Jesse Jewell Parkway, which provides information on community/City events, things to do, lodging, dining, retail, etc. Find additional photos shared via the @GainesvilleGeorgiaGovernment Facebook page.