Blue, the Wonder Dog reporting here. The much anticipated opening of the newest upscale restaurant in Sevierville is finally here! Aubrey’s restaurant (a very well run small chain headquartered in nearby Knoxville) will open today from their first location in Sevier County on Dolly Parton Parkway, at the intersection of Veteran’s Blvd. and Dolly Parton Parkway. Originally scheduled to open in December, their opening was significantly delayed not so much by construction as by staffing shortages. At one point, it was heard about town that the Sevier County restaurant was shy of their staffing goal by around 35 employees. This is not a new problem, but is one that almost all businesses here face and that is a lack of reliable skilled help.
While the challenge of finding sufficient help isn’t anything new, what is interesting is how the demographics for Sevierville have changed. When my dad (Jeff Schoenfield) first moved to Sevier County 25 years ago, he has told me that he asked a friend “Why don’t Hilton, Hyatt, or Marriott have hotels here in the county?”. The answer he received was “That isn’t our market.” although the actual words used by the banker friend had a little more of a country flavor. Country flavor or not, the truth is that with the dramatic success of the Christmas Place Hotel in Pigeon Forge, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort in Pigeon Forge, Holston’s Kitchen restaurant just down the street in Sevierville, and the more recent addition of Chesapeake’s Seafood restaurant in Gatlinburg, it has become clear that visitors (and local folks) will support upscale businesses as long as the product and service justify the price. Welcome to town Aubrey’s!! We’re glad that you’re here and looking forward to seeing more businesses that appeal to the upper end of our market. It’s good for all of us here in Sevierville, including dogs like me that require expensive vegetarian kibble for our overly sensitive stomachs!