After seeing a lot of motorcycle traffic in North Georgia, a Dawsonville, Georgia, resident decided to open a shop in Gordon County that sells motorcycle gear.
Dawsonville has “blown up” with development recently, said Andy Lowery, owner of Southern Breeze, but he and his girlfriend found what he called a perfect location in Fairmount at 2621 Highway 411.
Open since last week, the store sells apparel and gear for motorcyclists including boots, jackets, helmets and shirts. Soon, he said they plan to sell food like hot dogs and deli sandwiches.
In a phone interview, Lowery explained the origin of the store’s name.
“Well, Southern, we’re all from the South and (are) here in the South, and breeze … Every now and then, you just need a little wind therapy on two wheels, man,” he said.
The store is his first business, Lowery said, and he credits his girlfriend for helping him get started. He said he would have been lost trying to stock women’s boots and clothing without her help.
Sourcing some inventory and meeting county food service requirements have been challenging, and he asked the public for patience as they gear up for summer.
While Lowery lives in Dawsonville, his girlfriend bought a house in Fairmount two years ago.
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Lowery said Fairmount is a small, quiet town, with a lot of cool people. He said he likes that it’s close enough to Atlanta and other bigger cities but still has that small town experience.
“A lot of riders don’t like getting on the highways, so (Highway) 411 runs parallel to I-75, so they just take it on up,” into Tennessee, Lowery said. There’s tons of motorcycle traffic in the area and on Highway 411 where Southern Breeze is located, he said.
Riding a Harley Ultra Limited motorcycle, Lowery said he organize rides with a lot of Christian groups and motorcycle clubs like Pathfinders in Dawsonville. The groups ride for charities year-round, but especially during the holiday season.
Lowery had a community event for Southern Breeze’s opening and is planning events in Fairmont’s town square in the next few months.
He said Southern Breeze is also partnering with the Legion Riders, based at the city’s American Legion. The city’s legion post risks closure and needs more veterans to sign up. Live music, cookouts and events for children are being planned this summer to stir interest and increase membership at the legion post, he said.
“We’re gonna have some fun this summer,” Lowery said.
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David Dickerson works at Motorcycle Pro Care, a repair shop in Fairmount.
He said in a phone call that the scenic, rural rides on Highway 411 and Highway 53 attract riders from Atlanta and East Tennessee. More business have been opening, and new residents are moving to Fairmount, he said. Dickerson said he thinks people want a small town life and are deciding to get away from cities.
Kathy Johnson, president and chief executive officer of the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce, said she’s been in Fairmount a lot lately as the city grows. The chamber is based in Calhoun, and she said growth is happening in that city and throughout the county.
“We’re (Gordon County) having a lot of growth in multiple business sectors, between commercial, retail, as well as industrial and housing,” Johnson said in a phone interview. She said there’s also been renewed interest in entrepreneurial businesses — like Southern Breeze — in Fairmount and Calhoun.
The warehouse industry in Gordon County specifically is seeing a lot of growth, she said, especially along Highway 41. There’s also been growth generally on Highway 53, which runs southwest from Calhoun towards Rome.
According to the 2020 census, Gordon County has 58,240 residents, and Fairmount has 772.
Southern Breeze’s hours vary; check its website or call before visiting. The store can be reached through its Facebook page or by phone at 678-790-2300.
Contact Andrew Wilkins at [email protected] or 423-757-6659.