Those downtown Powder Springs businesses have quilts painted on them and are part of the Southern Quilt Trail. But it's not necessarily a trail; it's more a region of northwest Georgia that brings bare walls to life through the paintings.
Sixteen quilts are painted on buildings throughout Powder Springs—most of which are downtown—and 35 to 40 in total are in the area, said Gloria Hilderbran, co-owner of the Country Store of Seven Springs and an organizer of the trail.
Hilderbran discussed the origins of the trail, which has spread to several states: In 2001, some art enthusiasts in southern Ohio saw bare outer barn walls as an opportunity for public murals that would give visitors something colorful and locally significant to seek out.
"And it just kind of grew in that area," Hilderbran said. "Once they did those one or two quilts, everybody in the area wanted quilts painted."
Outside Hilderbran's store are two quilts, one of which is actually painted on the building, whereas most of the quilts are painted on plywood attached to a wall. This one, completed in March 2007, was the first one on the Southern Quilt Trail.
Carroll, Haralson and Heard counties also have quilts, along with a few in Dallas and Hiram.
The organization always welcomes applications from those wishing to become part of the trail, Hilderbran said. But the building and quilt design must first meet certain historical criteria.
One eventual goal is to have Tennessee's Appalachian Quilt Trail connect with Powder Springs' trail as it expands northward, Hilderbran said.
"We would like to eventually bring the Appalachian on down into the northern tip of Georgia," she said.
The organization also is attempting to get grant money for brochures that will map the quilts for tourists, she said.
The quilt idea emerged locally from a 2006 newspaper report out of Englewood, TN, Hilderbran said. Joe Sutton, owner of Powder Springs Flowers & Gifts, showed her the article.
Hilderbran was going to Pigeon Forge for a car show in a couple of weeks anyway, so she offered to check out the quilts.
"We stopped in Englewood on our way to see the quilts painted on the building," she said, "and the minute I saw one, I knew we had to do that."