How’s your business this summer?
TRI-COUNTY AREA—Many area businesses capitalize on the expanded customer base while the summer tourist season is in full swing. However, varying conditions from year to year have an impact on whether a business does better or worse than the year before. We asked several area businesses, “How has your business been this summer?”
Morgan Marine owner Jeff Kennedy said he is ahead in certain aspects of his business, while down in others. He said while overall business is slightly up from last year, areas like gas sales and boat services are actually down from last year. Kennedy said while business also dipped during the period Keuka Lake was closed to boat traffic, the increase in boat sales has increased to the point where he is coming out slightly ahead this year.
When it comes to lodging, Brian Zerges, owner of the Best Western in Penn Yan and Finger Lakes Premier Properties said some areas are doing better than others. He said vacation rentals are up slightly from the year before, while business at the hotel is flat. Zerges added the rental business growth is not pacing with the industry standard, and he has had to invest significantly into additional marketing to maintain that growth. He said without the additional marketing, the additional growth might not have been there this year.
“It is not a bad year, but it is not a great year,” Zerges said.
Along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, President of Fox Run Vineyards Scott Osborn said while business is flat from last year, the customer count has actually decreased by 5 percent. He said they have seen an increase in customers in July, but the reason business has remained flat is fewer customers are spending more money.
Angel’s Restaurant owner Donna Neal in Penn Yan said her business remains the same as it was last year, even despite damage sustained by the flash floods in May. She said it gets really busy on the weekends, adding there are a lot of people from out of town who are curious about the flooding. Neal said customers have been very supportive following the flooding, with many people going to those establishments that were previously damaged.
In Schuyler County, the Watkins Harbor Hotel reported they have not seen an increase in attendance since last year, but Sales Director Christine Peacock attributes this to the success seen last year. She said the lack of growth does not indicate the hotel is not busy.
“We are extremely busy,” Peacock said. “We are right on par with last year, but we were also very busy last year. Winter was busier than in past years too, which is unusual.”
Teresa Knapp of Lakewood Vineyards along Route 14 said they have seen 8 percent fewer customers since last year, but added the sales are slightly up. She said the numbers are down due to weather, citing the bad winter weather as cause for lower numbers in the beginning of the year, but added those people who do come appear to spend more money. Knapp said the summer numbers have been steady so far, with a slight increase in business.
Owner of Jerlando’s in Watkins Glen Bill Tague said while there has been a 6 percent increase in business this year, business has actually been down during the week, with an increase of business on the weekends. He added consumers also appear to be spending less while they are there, choosing less expensive food items.
“This year seems a bit different from past summers,” Tague said “I think the weather or lack thereof (I mean it’s July and Thursday night was 51 degrees) has played a significant role in what seems like a departure from the normal ‘summer in Watkins’ business environment. Although our numbers are up approximately 6 percent overall from last year we are finding that our weekdays are generally slower and our weekends are much busier. In contrast, over the last several summer seasons we typically experience a sustained daily increase seven days per week.”