The 22-day trial, which drew news organizations from around the nation, was held in Catoosa County Superior Court in downtown Ringgold.
“It got really busy in here,” said Lisa Born of Bailey’s BBQ. “There were days that were busier than others, but business was really good while the trial was going on.”
Bailey’s location was at times a double-edged sword, since it’s located about a mile from downtown Ringgold on U.S. 41. The eatery offered the opportunity to get away from the downtown crowd, but was not as convenient as those located within walking distance of the courthouse.
“We had our regulars and some new customers. But we’ve seen a big difference….,” Born said.
Local coffeehouse, Caffeine Addicts, also welcomed the business from the court crowd as owner Jan Henry put her relatives to work each day.
“We stayed really busy each day during lunch,” Henry said. “My daughter and grandchildren work here as well, and we managed to cover it all.”
Henry’s daughter, Kandi Lawson, said a lot of new customers were pleasantly surprised by their visit to Addicts. “We had a lot of people come in that hadn’t ever been here before,” Lawson said. “We also heard a few people say that they wish they had known about us sooner, because they really enjoyed coming here.”
Richard’s Restaurant directly behind the courthouse on LaFayette Street may have seen the greatest increase in business, as it was packed every day for morning and breakfast.
“The breakfast rush was good each morning, but lunchtime was especially busy every day,” said owner Richard Dycus. “It seemed like everybody came over from the courthouse at one time. Court usually let out around noon, and then they would come right over to us.”
Dycus said it was longest busy spell his restaurant had ever seen.
“There were some days where we had everybody on our staff in here at the same time, just to be able to cover it all,” Dycus said.
According to Dycus, the main players on both counsels frequented the restaurant.
“The guys from the district attorney’s office were in here some, and they were really great to wait on,” he said. “Tonya Craft was also in here a lot. Her and her attorneys would come in here, pull two tables together, and they were just as nice as could be. Tonya would talk to everybody who came up to her, and she’d say goodbye to all of us when she’d leave each time.”