Ocean City Today

Labor Day: big boost delivered

Even with inclement weather, holiday sees business surge because of later school start
By Kara Hallissey | Sep 07, 2017
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli As the summer comes to a close, thousands flock to the Ocean City Boardwalk on Labor Day.

(Sept. 8, 2017) A questionable weather forecast and a rainy Saturday may have scared a few visitors away this past weekend, but most Ocean City businesses saw an increase in numbers as compared to last year and they attribute the uptick to most Maryland public schools beginning classes after Labor Day.

“I do think that the extra week made a difference,” said Jessica Waters, Town of Ocean City communications manager. “Unfortunately, the weather may have impacted that a little this year, but we heard from several families who were coming to Ocean City to celebrate their extra week of summer.”

Susan Jones, executive director for the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, said most hotels did not sell out and there were a few cancellations because of rain.

“Businesses did better than last year with Sunday and Monday saving the weekend weather-wise,” Jones said. “I think schools starting after Labor Day and the Maryland Week promotion helped us by putting Ocean City on the minds of Marylanders. It reminded people summer is not over. Restaurants and hotels are open and there is still time to get a great deal.”

Owner Steve “Chief” Hoffman told Jones this was the “best month Pit N Pub ever had” and Happy Jack Pancake House owner Bob Torrey said the 25th Street restaurant did much better than anticipated last weekend and their numbers were way above last year.

Downtown at Harrison’s Harbor Watch, General Manager Jeb Vetock said Sunday and Monday were both strong and he noticed an increase in families visiting the resort last week.

“The town had a good crowd despite cloudy weather on Saturday,” Vetock said. “It was a good season in general and a great decision to extend summer for families to enjoy one last vacation before the kids go back to school.”

The Shrimp Boat in West Ocean City saw an increase in sales as compared to the final weeks of August in 2016.

“The biggest impact I think was on the weekend before [Labor Day], since Marylanders weren’t rushing back to get the kids to school,” said Owner Joe White. “Our Saturday, Aug. 26, was 40 percent up and Sunday was up over 30 percent. The Shrimp Boat saw a tremendous amount of additional customers Monday through Friday [leading up to Labor Day weekend.] A 20 percent increase each day.”

At Planet Maze on 33rd Street, owner Jamie Albright was grateful for the Maryland Week promotion and extra week of business.

“Maryland Week was fantastic and definitely made a difference. It was a plus for small business,” Albright said. “Many thanks to the governor and all the people who worked so hard to get this extra week. Families’ is what makes our business work and by having an extra week before school, it brought the families here to Ocean City. We had a 100 percent increase for the week as compared to previous years.”

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