Mother Nature Delivering a Pleasant Summer to Jersey Shore Businesses
As long as the weather cooperates, the owners of Hoagitos on the Asbury Park boardwalk can sit back and watch the money pour in from shore visitors who will eventually get hungry for a sandwich after a few hours on the beach.
And so far this summer, Mother Nature has been quite kind to this small food stand and other merchants along the Jersey shore.
"Business is definitely up from last year; the town's been crazier than ever," said Hoagitos co-owner Terence McGill.
When it rains, McGill noted, business is essentially non-existent. Thankfully for shore businesses, the skies have been dry for the overwhelming majority of weekend days since Memorial Day.
Business in May and June is up 6 to 8 percent over the same time last year for Sari Perlstein who owns boutique shops on the boardwalk in Avon and Belmar.
And, unlike every other year, customers this year are filing into her stores at a consistent pace all week long - not only Friday through Monday.
"During the week for seasonal businesses can be kind of slow, but we've been pretty steady," Perlstein told Townsquare Media. "The weekday numbers are closer to the weekend numbers."
Still, there's plenty of summer to go. Perlstein knows she can't absolutely call this season a success until it's all said and done.
"July and August are the mainstay of the business," she said. "And if it's really hot, they're coming from everywhere."
According to Maria Mastoris, marketing manager for Casino Pier and Breakwater Beach in Seaside Heights, both sites have been "packed" with guests since the start of summer.
"We're definitely lucking out with weather, but I can definitely say that a lot more people are taking their vacations down here," Mastoris said, noting the borough has always said it could take at least five years to fully rebound from 2012's Superstorm Sandy.
This has been the second full-force summer since Sandy for nearby Barnacle Bill's Amusements. Co-owner JoAnn Petruzel said business is "on an upswing," better than last year.
The restaurant-golf-arcade establishment primarily earns most of its money at night, Petruzel said, but the business is seeing more foot traffic during the day this summer. Air conditioning, an updated arcade and misters on the golf course may have something to do with the change.
According to Petruzel, the weather has been "just right" with no extremes.
"We're halfway through July and we haven't had that oppressive heat that goes on and on and on, which actually could hurt business," she said.