Merchants: Business at Jersey Shore is Decent [POLL/AUDIO]
Memorial Day ushered in a string of warm and sunny weekends, which is good news for merchants at the Jersey Shore, but it may not be enough.
According to some merchants, this June is already a vast improvement compared to last June, where in addition to the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, businesses dealt with several rainy and cold weekends that lasted into July.
In Seaside Heights, which is still recovering from last year's massive boardwalk fire, merchants said despite a strong start to the season, the pace still needs to pick up.
“We’re all going - ‘I’m not sure yet,'" said Brett Kinsler of Sun King Clothes. “I mean if it stays the way it is right now - no. But we’re hoping and we’re praying for (good) weather. That’s what we do here.”
Many store owners agree that neither the business nor the crowds have returned to the levels seen before Sandy.
“It’s been half as many people spending half as much money. We don’t have as many families, it’s been all kids,” said Mitchell Green of Adrenaline Professional Body Piercing, Tattoo & Streetwear store.
Green said while they were busy, every weekend counts, and the brutal winter has caused schools to finish later than usual. “We used to have four months, then three months. Literally, the kids get out at the end of June, so we have July and August to make our money.”
Kinsler said the weekends have been decent, but during the week it's a "ghost town." He said it's especially brutal since the summer prior to Sandy was one of the most profitable in recent years.
“It was a record season and right after Sandy it was pretty much the same thing [as this year], it was a ghost town during the week. Even into July it was a ghost town.”
One of the more optimistic businesses is Marucas Tomato Pies, despite having had to rebuild twice last year.
“This is the third spot I’ve been in within one calendar year - roughly with the storm and then the fire. It’s little baby steps, they add up. Post-Sandy is different than pre-Sandy, but we’re going in the right direction for sure,” said Dominic Maruca.
But even Maruca would like to see the weather break into a more summer-like pattern.