Candyland boosts local sales

Published 12:55 am Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sales taxes up for 3rd consecutive December

Sales tax collections for the City of Andalusia in December indicate that those who visited Candyland did more than take advantage of the free downtown event.

0225-sales-taxesSales tax collections were 3 percent higher for December 2016 (collected in January 2017) than in December 2015. The increase of $27,041 in collections in 2016 represents $600,911 in retail sales. Sales tax collections were up 2 percent for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 (October through December of 2016) over the same period last year.

Figures provided by Andalusia City Clerk John Thompson show the collections have increased each of the past three Decembers, in which Candyland activities and traffic have also increased.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chrissie Duffy said retail stimulation is just one of the goals of Candyland, which is produced in a partnership of the Chamber, city, and private businesses.

“The event has three main goals, tourism, retail stimulation and community involvement,” Duffy said. “We brought roughly 30,000 visitors to the downtown area of Andalusia in December of last year, many of whom came across county and state lines.

“For a small rural town with no beaches or other draws, this is a huge accomplishment,” she said.

While the retail growth is impressive, Duffy said another amazing thing happened.

“Our community took pride in the event and found a new reason to be proud of the place we all cherish and call home,” she said.

The event also generated positive publicity and exposure for the community.

“According to our social media channels – 200,743 people saw the Candyland event come through their newsfeed during the month of December,” she said. “Of those, 50,073 either commented, shared, liked or tagged the event.”

Most of those people were from outside of Covington County, she said.

The event also received positive press locally, and across the state and region.