‘Stranger Things‘ is bringing dollars to Georgia businesses.
According to reports by the Associated Press, after the Netflix release of “Stranger Things,” fans from all over the world traveled into Bradley’s Big Guy grocery store in Palmetto, Georgia, dressed like characters into the show. Some fans even walked toward the Eggo waffles aisle to take pictures and videos.
Fans go where “Stranger Things” star Millie Bobby Brown filmed a scene as the character Eleven. They are still returning to Georgia three years later, even after the store changed its name and joined the Piggly Wiggly franchise.
Palmetto, Georgia is a small town of fewer than 10,000 people and 25 miles southwest of Atlanta. But after “Stranger Things” premiered in 2016, it has become a routine for employees to see “Stranger Things” fans. Fans have visited the store every day since the store reappeared in the third season on July 4th, according to Piggly Wiggly manager David Johnston. The AP reports 50 fans showed up on one Saturday in mid-July, he said.
“You can spot them in the crowd when they come in here,” Johnston said. “The girl the other day was dressed like Eleven, all the way to the blood running down her nose.”
It should not come as a surprise. The ‘80s sci-fi series broke Netflix streaming records with their third season. 40.7 million accounts watched it, and 18.2 finished it within the first four days of release.
The show is set in Hawkins, Indiana, but filmed in Georgia, where the state offers tax breaks and other film incentives to producers, studios, and others in the entertainment industry. In 2018, the state earns $9.5 billion annually from the industry.
Emory University’s Briarcliff Campus in Atlanta was the set location as the show’s Hawkins Laboratory. In Duluth, Georgia, crew changed a vacant area and food court in Gwinnett Place Mall into Starcourt Mall.
The mall is still open but is a major disappointment for “Stranger Things” fans; A guard is now posted outside of the wing used for filming to escort anyone who attempts to take a photo.
Employees at the Piggly Wiggly are encouraging fans to write in a notebook to share their experience, which is now kept at the store.
“Loved coming here to get some Eggos and Coke,” said one note signed by Julia, Mike and Danielle from New York.
Johnston adds the store’s Eggo waffle sales have tripled and merchandise has also increased in sales.
Businesses in Georgia have also benefited. Throughout the series, downtown Jackson, Georgia was portrayed as the town of Hawkins, where several vital characters worked including Winona Ryder’s character.
As the Associated Press reports, Lucy Lu’s Coffee Cafe opened in downtown Jackson, Georgia in 2017. Within months, the cafe created “Stranger Things” inspired drinks including “Sheriff Hopper, hazelnut and vanilla coffee drink, and the Demogorgon, a frappe with blood-red food coloring named after the monster that rampages through Hawkins.”
As a result, it had been a significant success with fans and locals. The shop brought in $1,200 in net sales July 19, doubling their daily average following the release of the third season.