By DON STINE
The Jersey Shore is up and running strong, so far, this summer, according to many local business owners.
Carrie Turner, spokesperson for Asbury Park’s boardwalk redeveloper Madison Marquette, said that, so far, things have been very good at the boardwalk but she points out that boardwalk business success is very much related to the weather.
“June was really good and we are awaiting our reports for July. There were no rainy weekends in June,” she said.
And traffic and business at the boardwalk has been very brisk.
“So far it has been very, very strong and we have seen increased weekday traffic like never before. We have many more people midweek than in previous summers and we are very excited about that,” she said.
Turner said she believes boardwalk business owners are also pleased.
“I haven’t heard any complains, which I have heard in the past. I hope the rest of the summer remains the same,” she said.
Asbury Park Beach Utility Manager Gary Giberson said that as of last weekend in July, beach revenues were up by about $215,000 in beach badge sales.
He said last year’s total beach revenue was $1,088,000 and the hopes that figure will climb to about $1,250,000 this year.
“I am very hopeful but we need the good weather to continue to hit that mark,” he said.
Tom Gilmour, the city’s director of commerce, noted that some people are still rediscovering Asbury Park.
“I think that last year a lot of people, due to Sandy, couldn’t go to some other beaches like Sea Bright and they came to Asbury Park and they said, ‘Hey man, this place is cool. I’m coming back.’ And they did,” he said.
Kay Harris, who owns the Asbury Galleria in the Convention Hall Arcade, said this summer has been much better business-wise than last year.
“July has been very good, better than last year, and it needed to be because last year was not so great,” she said.
She said her business was slow due to rebuilding the city’s boardwalk near her store after Superstorm Sandy and the cancellation of shows in Convention hall.
“The weather has been pretty nice but, even if it’s not nice, there are a lot of people still walking around and shopping,” she said.
And Harris is hoping for a good finale for her season.
“I am just looking for it to be a great season for the rest of the summer,” she said.
Bungalow Road, which sells home accents, jewelry and unique gifts at 700 Main Street in Avon, is also having a pretty good summer so far
Owner Kara Wirin said that business has “been amazing.”
“We have had a ton of local support, as well as vacationers. Compared with last summer, business is slightly better. People are still spending money and we are priced fairly good, so it’s easy for people to come in and buy something,” she said.
Wirin, who has been in business for three years, said the weather has also been amazing but, when it rains, business picks up because people can’t go to the beach.
“I am looking for the rest of the summer to be just as good,” she said.
Zoe Accessories, which sells clothing, shoes, jewelry, handbags at 216 Main Street in Avon, is also having a “great” summer, owner Stacy Weber said.
“I can say that the Jersey Shore is coming back from Sandy and business has improved since last summer. People are coming back and it’s great,” she said.
Weber said that her store got a lot of local support last year in the wake of Sandy and sales remained decent.
“But people are coming back to vacation now and it is much better this year,” she said.
John Schneider, owner of Schneider’s restaurant at 801 Main Street in Avon, said that his sales are a “little spotty” this year.
“I can have a really good day but then can have two to four days where I wonder what happened. Weekends are good, some better than others. It’s a strange thing – I can’t quite put my finger on it. But I’m not complaining and I am still looking forward to the rest of the season,” he said.
Schneider also said that many local customers accounted for much of his business last year and that they still do.
“We are not totally dependent on tourists but this year seems a little bit better with tourists coming down. When is rains they do not come down to the beach but on a nice day we get more people,” he said.
John McGillion, who owns three bars and restaurants in Asbury Park, said business has been good with both new and return customers.
“Revenues and sales are good,” he said.
McGillion owns the Cameo and Johnny Mac bars on Main Street and a new bar/restaurant at 1411 Kingsley Street, called Kim Marie’s Eat ‘n Drink Away, which has been open since the spring.
“Kim Marie’s is doing well with the kitchen and bar getting better. We also have a new menu which is working well. Johnny Mac is also doing well with its new outdoor bar,” he said.
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