THOMSON - Thomson residents finally have a place nearby for those midnight cravings.
The Huddle House in downtown Thomson opened its doors earlier this month. The restaurant will be open 24 hours a day.
Though the restaurant took a little longer than expected to get up and running, city and county officials still hope it will quickly provide some much-needed life to the downtown economy.
Co-owner Randall Kersey said that before formal construction plans were made, it was clear Thomson needed a downtown restaurant.
"What we did before we decided to locate here at this particular location is that we had a demographic study done," he said. "According to the demographics and all the local people we talked to, this section of town has been looking for a sit-down restaurant for a long time."
Cook Anthony Wiley
prepares an omelette only hours after Huddle House opened its doors for the first time a few weeks ago. The new restaurant
is in the middle of downtown Thomson.
Photo by Elwood Hamilton
Kersey, a former Swainsboro police officer, owns the restaurant with his longtime friend Pete Powell. This is their first restaurant, and they have every intention of making it a success.
"Everything else in Thomson seemed to locate near the interstate, but we wanted to provide something for the local people," Kersey said. "That means our service, quality, and our friendliness has got to be there in return."
The restaurant - which is across Main Street and the railroad tracks from the Depot - has a distinct old-fashioned diner atmosphere, balanced with a computer system allowing servers to keep orders straight and customers to pay with credit cards.
Manager Seth Bland said he accepted applications for around 30 positions. Luckily, he had plenty of potential applicants to choose from.
"We probably received around 200 applications, and we interviewed probably around 150 of those, because we wanted to give everybody a chance," he said. "We think we made good choices in choosing who we did. They've worked so hard and they're good people."
The restaurant has been built on the site of an old Nehi-Royal Crown bottling plant that stood in downtown Thomson during the first half of the 20th century.
Inside Huddle House, a small historical retrospective is on display, with photographs of downtown Thomson during the 1930s and '40s, and several Royal Crown and Nehi glass bottles that were excavated from the site earlier this year before construction began.
Opening Tuesday in Thomson is Fred's, a discount retailer set to do business in the building formerly used by Gold's Gym on Washington Road.
Store management hopes to attract customers interested in a product that settles in between Wal-Mart and the dollar stores. Fred's will sell clothing, food, greeting cards and toiletries.
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