“Dillsboro merchants have a great cooperative spirit, and they have worked tirelessly with town and county leaders, as well as Western Carolina University,” Julie Spiro, executive director of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, said. “I think we are beginning to see the fruits of their labor. The town of Dillsboro was able to offer some incentives to new businesses, and the merchants have embraced their new neighbors with a very positive, welcoming attitude. They are cross-marketing each other’s businesses and working collectively to advertise and produce events that bring people into Dillsboro. More shops and restaurants are staying open year-round, and extending their evening hours during select months. This has helped both locals and visitors rediscover Dillsboro, and I think that has been very important in improving the economic climate of the town.” Along with the help from WCU, Dillsboro Mayor Mike Fitzgerald said the town board made needed changes to make Dillsboro more business friendly, like adding more street lighting and allowing businesses to hang simple neon “Open” signs. The town’s “open for business message” has led new and old merchants to take actions. Even the train is back in town with a Great Smoky Mountain Railroad layover stop that allows train riders to shop in area businesses.