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Morrow changes course on haunted house

City grants occupancy, but owner eyes McDonough

Photo by Curt Yeomans
Brian Rayl, owner of Frightmore Haunted House, explains some of the sets used in his temporary business.

Photo by Curt Yeomans Brian Rayl, owner of Frightmore Haunted House, explains some of the sets used in his temporary business.

— The owner of a haunted house in Morrow late Friday afternoon got the city’s permission to open, following a Clayton News Daily report on the city economic development director’s urging the business move out of the city.

Frightmore Haunted House owner Brian Rayl said he received his operating license from the city Friday at 5 p.m. It was too late for him to open that night to the public, but he said he will open his doors Saturday so he can scare bejeebies out of people. He said the city, which had given him a long list of somewhat minor issues they demanded he address, didn’t explain why they had an abrupt change of heart.

Rayl said he believed they changed their mind after Clayton News Daily published an article about a comment from Morrow Economic Development Director Michael McLaughlin, telling Rayl that Frightmore was not wanted in the city.

“It’s like magic,” Rayl told Clayton News Daily, giving the newspaper credit for the city’s reversal.

photo

Curt Yeomans

A ghoulish figure stands guard at Frightmore Haunted House in Morrow. The city of Morrow, which had been accused of stonewalling the temporary businesses efforts to open, unexpectedly decided to grant an operating license late Friday.

However, the battle between McLaughlin and Rayl could come at a future cost for the city — and possibly all of Clayton County. Rayl said he will not return to Morrow after this year because of his struggles with the economic development director.

Rayl’s not even sure he wants to stay in the county.

“I’ll probably move a little further south, like around McDonough,” he said. “There’s a slim possibility we’ll still be in Clayton County, but it’s very slim.”

In all, Rayl has only lost two days of business because of his issues with the city, but he said his 35 part-time employees lost part-time pay because they couldn’t open. Those employees, he said, include students from Clayton State University, Mt. Zion High School and Luella High School. He said he also hires off-duty Morrow police officers at $25-per-hour to provide security, so they also lost out on chances to make extra pay.

“Not only [were] they keeping us from opening, they’ve hurt the people who worked here, and they [didn’t] receive any revenue from us, because we weren’t open,” said Rayl.

He added nearby restaurants also lost business because Frightmore traditionally draws large crowds from as far away as Alabama. “It definitely affects some of the businesses surrounding us,” the haunted house owner said. “Will it affect H.H. Gregg? Probably not, but food and drink businesses like Carrabbas and Taco Bell — yeah, most definitely. People have gotta eat while they’re here.”

A car from Henry County pulled into the Southlake Pavilion parking lot in Morrow Thursday night and crept past Frightmore Haunted House before finally coming to a stop.

A girl leaned out the window and wondered aloud why more people weren’t there.

“Hey, are you guys open?” the girl asked Rayl.

Rayl then had to explain why his haunted house wasn’t open, even though advertisements posted from Kennesaw to McDonough said it would be.

“We’re having trouble with the city of Morrow and they won’t give me a permit to open,” Rayl told the young lady. “The city’s economic development director has told me he doesn’t want us in the city.”

The four passengers in the car each expressed shock and disappointment over the issue, with some of them cursing about the situation.

“I’m sorry you’re going through this, hopefully you can open soon,” the girl said, before driving off.

“That’s $80 right there driving away,” said Rayl, as he watched the group leave.

Starting tonight, however, he won’t have to turn away anymore customers.

Comments

PGM 2 years ago

Morrow is out of control. What an embarassment. I heard the city manager say you can't talk to the employees in parking lots on tv last night. That was his excuse for this man being told he wasn't welcome in the city. Be careful who you talk to in Morrow. They might run you out of town too.

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OscarKnight 2 years ago

......Not until Morrow begins to throw out the welcome matte for it's visitors and paying customers.

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MorrowResident 2 years ago

Morrow has many really good things going on.

Oh and OscarKnight, Welcome "matte". I believe you mean "mat" . For years I have seen this mysterious buffoon "just speak his mind", almost every time there is some really bad usage or grammatical error. You really come across as as well, not as smart as you think.

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PGM 2 years ago

Name calling?? Really?? Is that one of the "good things" morrow has going on? And Oscar Knight is not "mysterious". Unlik you, he uses his name. Are you a typical "Morrow Resident"? Sad.

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limomaninga 1 year, 12 months ago

Good things in Morrow??? HA. Businesses are closing their doors. The thug infested Southlake Mall is fixing to go bankrupt. No nice eating establishments. If you go to the movies you have to go to the matinee because of the rude teenagers. BTW..I have much respect for Oscar, he knows more about Morrow and Clayton County than you can EVER imagine.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 12 months ago

,,,,MorrowResident : Quote ;(( " Morrow has many really good things going on."

(( "Oh and OscarKnight, Welcome "matte". I believe you mean "mat" . For years I have seen this mysterious buffoon "just speak his mind", almost every time there is some really bad usage or grammatical error. You really come across as as well, not as smart as you think." ))

.......Matte : noun "a dull or dead surface"......No; That was what I mean't to say.

..........Envy will get you no place in this world. If it wasn't for others spending money in Morrow....The City of Morrow would still be nothing but a two lane road, leading to Jonesboro ( The County Seat ).

.....Have a good day; MorrowResident.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 12 months ago

....Morrow seems to be the "Wishing Well" in our county; I know that I have spent many of my pennies in Morrow.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 12 months ago

Quote : "Rayl said he will not return to Morrow after this year because of his struggles with the economic development director."

.......Morrow should have rolled out the Red Carpet for Rayl's return. Like others in the past, He will probably see that his bread will be buttered in much greener pastures in the future.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 12 months ago

...."MorrowResident" has only two comments listed on The Clayton News Daily.

....I might have a lower batting average with some folks, but at least I'm not a bench warmer. .

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spencerid 1 year ago

I was a victim of this crime too. The burglar entered through the bathroom window and he not only stole the most precious objects from the house, but he also destroyed my Bathroom Vanities. This is scandalous. The police never caught him.

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