Even though Roswell Mayor Jere Wood technically beat out Alpharetta Mayor Arthur Letchas during the first annual Mayor's Grocery Showdown, the real winner was North Fulton Community Charities (NFCC), which received more than $1,000 in donated groceries as a result of the event.
"The real winner is North Fulton Community Charities," said Alpharetta Convention & Visitors Bureau President Janet Rodgers, at the end of the event.
To show the impact of tourism on the local economy, the Roswell and Alpharetta Convention & Visitors Bureaus challenged the mayors to purchase exactly $498 worth of groceries in order to emphasize the figure the tourism industry saves each Georgia household. According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s latest Economic Impact Report, the tourism industry contributed more than $1.5 billion in state and local tax revenue last year. As a result, every Georgia household benefits from a state and local tax savings of $498.
After 10 minutes of collecting groceries at the Kroger on East Crossville Road, Wood collected $491 in groceries, while Letchas collected $526.
The mayors, who playfully "trash talked" each other prior to the official start, employed two very different strategies. Letchas took off running as soon as the the countdown was done, while a sneaker-wearing Wood calmly walked around around the store reading from a shopping list.
Keeping in mind the Kroger Plus card would apply and taxes would get knocked off, the mayors were allowed to fill two baskets will non-perishable items at the expense of the two Convention & Visitors Bureaus, which both sponsored the event.
The event - said to be the brainchild of Roswell City Councilwoman Nancy Diamond - had a double mission: to portray the impact of tourism on the local economy, as well as provided much needed supplies to NFCC.
"There are no losers," said Dotty Etris, executive director for the Roswell Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"No losers, but [there is] a clear winner," joked Wood.
Etris said the bureaus plan to make the showdown an annual event.