SENOIA, Ga. - A Coweta County town is reaping the rewards of the boom in the Georgia movie and TV industry.
Senoia is at the center of shooting for this season's episodes of AMC’s zombie drama The Walking Dead. Hundreds of fans of the show are flocking to the small town, which doubles as the town of Woodbury in the TV show.
Main Street is a focal point for shooting season three of the show. The town has several sets, including a bank, a bookstore, and a flower shop. Shooting started in May and has flooded the town with paying tourists, fans and zombie wannabes.
Police Chief Jason Edens said the commotion kept officers busy rerouting traffic around shooting and keeping movie gawkers safe.
“We’ve received calls here at the police department from Boston, New York, Philadelphia. We’ve had a couple close calls with vehicles almost striking pedestrians,” Edens told Channel 2’s Diana Davis.
Restaurants are jammed, and business in Senoia has never been better. Just a couple years ago, The Redneck Gourmet just off Main Street was struggling, but now it’s packed, according to Manager Kassy Johnson.
“There was a really bad time where we were not doing so well, but it’s definitely helped a lot. We’ve even had some of the stars come in, and the crew,” Johnson said.
On filming days, shopkeepers were asked to shutter their storefronts on Main Street. Customers entered through back doors, but they weren’t complaining. Jim Preece, the owner of an antique and gift shop, told Davis business has doubled.
“And the good thing about it is helping now and it will be helping three years down the road when people still see the show and go, ‘I want to go there,’” said Preece.
In several stores there is plenty of zombie merchandise for sale -- from hats to T-shirts and zombie soap to wash off all that blood.
Senoia's Main Street has its own version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame with plaques showing the dozens of TV shows and movies shot in Senoia in the last few years.
Some of the buildings on Main Street were specially built to double as movie sets. In the last few years, the shops of Main Street have defied the odds of a tough economy, growing from seven to 47.
“There, everything you could want is here on Main Street,” shopkeeper Jenna Smith told Davis.
Location shooting should wrap up in Senoia for seasons three in November but the financial benefits are expected to continue for years.