City of Hiawassee solicits business ideas for purchased buildings

Downtown Hiawassee

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The City of Hiawassee asked for the public’s “positive, serious” thoughts on the types of business they would like to see set up shop on Main Street, west of Hiawassee Town Square. Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales announced the tentative purchase of Hiawassee’s two oldest buildings in late November, with Hiawassee City Council approving the purchase the following week.

The buildings’ appraisal was set at $135,000, Mayor Ordiales said on Nov. 25, although $36,000 was “donated to the city” by Dan Paris, reducing the city’s cost to $99,000. Ordiales expressed gratitude toward Paris, a local businessman who is assisting in the restoration of downtown Hiawassee.

Hiawassee business

One of two vacant buildings recently purchased by the City of Hiawassee.

Ideas ranged from a book shop to a pool hall and everything in between.

After many months of detailed research, the Carl Vinson Institute of Government revealed a five-year strategic plan for Hiawassee’s potential future on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, during a Town Hall meeting. The procedure of envisioned development was the result of numerous studies conducted between the institute and local leaders, business owners, and residents.

During the course of the study, community stakeholders listed what they felt was working well in Hiawassee, and what they believed could benefit from improvement. Positive aspects included the strong sense of community with a “small-town feel,” the city’s town square, and the location itself, brimming with natural amenities. Feedback on areas that could prosper from improvement consisted of advanced beautification efforts, occupation of vacant buildings and lots, improved traffic and transportation, and the promotion of business options.

What do you think would be a nice addition to Downtown Hiawassee? Let us know in the comment section below or on our Facebook page. attracts over 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month with a 60,000 Facebook page reach. Approximately 15,000 viewers visit

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  1. Jeremy Barkley January 17, 2020 at 11:35 am

    There’s so many smaller communities throughout the states, Hiawassee is one of the most welcoming I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of, and believe it should stay that way. When the weather gets cooler all the businesses that rely on the lakes activities suffer along with its employees. I say that to say this; whatever is decided to do with the buildings must be available all year round. We don’t need more food, bars, or antiques. As a young man I enjoy exercise and a safe place to do so. Making exercise and healthy eating fun is both valuable and necessary for a long life. Perhaps even self defense classes for all ages and sexes. It’ll be interesting to see what comes and I’m certain our Mayor will continue to increase the quality of life for everyone in Hiawassee. Not just those who live here but all those that enjoy coming here. For its beauty and all it has to offer.

    • Ken Black January 17, 2020 at 7:32 pm

      I would lov to buy a small business.dont know wat I’d do but sounds inviting to try .im.retired and have the time that’s for sure..maybe a small bar only. Beer and pool or something…

  2. John Petraskiewchz January 17, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    How about making one building a museum historic of how the rose up during the years. Then show how the people lived, and worked, during hard times, so the generation now can hopefully learn

    • Thomas foca January 18, 2020 at 9:37 am

      Brewery, bagel shop, barber shop dollar store, goodwill store, brick oven pizza joint ,

  3. Joe Reece January 17, 2020 at 8:22 pm

    Museum for a Fort Town,and how we developed from there. Artifacts from those days, Just and Idea.You might be able to fine pictures
    of the Fort. I,m not sure were it was ?

    • Mark Sage January 17, 2020 at 9:08 pm

      Our town lacks a more inclusive retail store like Ross or Marshalls. This will help keep people in Hiawassee and not purchasing things in Blairsville.

  4. Debbie davis January 17, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    A gym would be nice or a small place for kids to go to keep them away from drugs .there is nothing there for this ty

  5. Betty Cory January 18, 2020 at 9:29 am

    Hiawassee would benefit greatly from the addition of a Belk’s department store. It provides both men and women’s clothing, linens, housewares, shoes and mostly it will save the drive to Baldwin, keeping Hiawassee’s residents spending in Hiawassee.

  6. Mel January 18, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Entertainment that is not seasonal but engaging and fun for all – an escape room. Properly done and changed on regular basis to keep people coming back, rather than a one time experience.

    A small outfitters store with excursion offerings of hikes and kayaking and other activities to engage the beauty of the area.

    A small tour company, offering guided trips to local breweries or wineries. Could pull in stops to local farms and quality craftsmen. Shop features items from the days stops for purchase at end of tour.

    • Charles Espenshade January 21, 2020 at 6:44 pm

      Another grocery store is desperately needed. Ingles has increased the price of everything since they are the only store available. Bring Save-A-lot or something else that us fixed income and lower wage people can afford to get enough to survive.

  7. Mike Youngblood January 18, 2020 at 11:40 am

    Just make it a housing situation as not enough room for much. Not much parking. Maybe the city could run it as a weekly rental for vacationers .Renovate it top notch accept bids with a design in mind! Can make it the period of Hiawassee’s Birth or farm house or urban industrial. Towns has a top notch Rec center. Hard to beat for size of community. The College also has a great facility for work out. Several local gyms as well.Plenty of Beverage outlets and city should never compete with local establishments in that area. Not enough population to draw the big stores. A sure win is housing of some type.If that didn’t work then an annex of some government service might be an ideal.Im thinking it’s 2 story so could be mixed use. Housing on top services on main?Put an elevator ini it and make sure it meets ADA compliance A great save of a nice vintage building!

  8. Shirl ;-) January 19, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    No chain stores PLEASE! Something quaint that won’t take business from anyone else in business downtown. B and B with a restaurant for non guests too, Bakery, Brick Oven pizza with Vegan options and an Ice Creamery with local specialty foods like Honey, Fudge, Chocolates, Coffee, Jams and Preserves on shelves (like Cracker Barrel store). Local Crafters can display their goods and art within an affordable restaurant. When I travel I like to have local foods and gifts if I’m in a small village or town to bring home. Items of quality. Hopefully restore the properties historically. Good luck. I’ll support whatever you decide.️ ️ P.S. It would be nice to see downtown businesses be more Pet Friendly and have a water bowl out with a chair or bench for shoppers while waiting outside with the dog️. If there’s room at the back of those buildings an outdoor restaurant and music under a pergola would be nice. Business would improve if shoppers could stroll the downtown️ Hanging flower baskets and nice trash cans are needed outside as well. Something has to draw them in: quaint, charming, interesting, fun. Street music would be fantastic! Street parking would help. A center lane is not necessary but parking is.️

  9. Joyce Herrington January 19, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    I think a nice coffee shop and bakery would be a great idea ,or donut shop.

  10. Crystal smith January 19, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    Something for the kids cause there is nothing for the kids around here to do besides drugs. I would love something that my kids could do in that store we already have too many breweries and alcoholic places

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