Summer provides economic boost for Pittsylvania Co. businesses near Smith Mountain Lake

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PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY (WSLS 10) - Even though Pittsylvania County's portion of Smith Mountain Lake may be  small, businesses near the lake, like Blairs Self Service Grocery, feel a big impact when summer rolls around.

"'Tremendously. Tremendously," said Deborah Wall, an employee at the store, when asked how much the increased business helps the store.

She said the increase in business usually begins Memorial Day Weekend and lasts through the summer.

"Monday, we [were] swamped with boats, fishing licenses, hot dogs, Minos, worms, bait of all kind, ice," continued Wall.

The lake draws hundreds of thousands of people to the area each year, according to Smith Mountain Lake State Park Manager Brian Heft.

Many of them come from or through Pittsylvania County and end up stopping at stores like Blairs to stock up before hitting the lake.

"The area is a draw for tourism. It's really a destination location," Heft pointed out.

He said on average, someone who stays in the park overnight spends about $78 and someone who just comes and visits for the day spends about $14.

"It's an opportunity for all of the counties in the chamber of commerce to really piggy back off of that tourism," said Heft.

Blairs Self Service Grocery employees believe they would stay busy even without the lake traffic, but they still look forward to the extra business that the beginning of summer brings.

If Memorial Day weekend was any indication about how the rest of the summer will go, then the store likely will not be disappointed.

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