Mark Manning, a manager at the Rookery bar and restaurant in downtown Macon, was excited when Clint Eastwood stopped by during the filming of a movie.
Who wouldn’t want to meet a genuine Hollywood legend, right at your own place of business?
But that was nothing compared to this. The Rookery, a longtime local favorite, is doubling its capacity by expanding into the space next door. That’ll be 90 more seats for customers to buy burgers and shakes, beer and drinks, and listen to live music. And more customers often mean more employees.
“Macon is on the cusp of something big,” says the local native. “The filming that’s been done has brought us to the forefront even more. Those movies support us while they’re here. There’s just a lot more energy, and people want to be a part of that. It brings people downtown and energizes us more.”
An energized downtown is great for jobs in the hospitality industry. Restaurants, shops and hotels notice upticks in revenue when movie crews are in town. And the town benefits through taxes, permits and fees.
“We do see a lot of them (crew members) eating downtown,” says Manning. “When we see someone we don’t recognize, we know what to attribute it to. There’s always a little boost in business.
“Clint Eastwood came in once, but it’s mostly the crew people. Those are our kind of people, working-class people looking for a good time and good food.
“If a tax break brings people here and it brings more revenue to the city, I think that’s great. We scratch their back and they scratch ours. When they’re here, we try to capitalize on it.”