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Lewes, Delaware
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June 2, 1995     Cape Gazette
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June 2, 1995
 

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60 CAPE , Friday, June $ June 8, i91 Business & Real Estate Holiday weather forecast has mixed impact on resort By Denise M. Marshall Despite a crummy weather fore- cast and mediocre weather, resort- area businesses indicated that sales were respectable over Memorial Day weekend. In many cases, cloudy skies on Sunday kept tourists off the beach and inside retail stores. Lana O'Hollaren, marketing manager of the Ocean Outlets, said the factory outlet stores had a banner week- end. "In a lot of cases, Sunday was the best day we ever had since we opened," O'Hollaren said. "We had a fantastic weekend." Lee Lott, executive director of the Rehoboth Beach Downtown Business Association, agreed that the poor weather forecast did not keep visitors away from the beach Memorial Day weekend. Downtown Rehoboth Beach was packed, and parking spaces were scarce, she said. A new group of shoppers, drawn to the area by the factory outlet stores on Del. 1, have unexpected- ly injected new business into downtown Rehoboth Beach, Lott said. Ridership on the Jolly Trolley was up compared to the same weekend last year, according to David Hastings, co-owner of the trolley. The Jolly Trolley was busiest late Saturday night and during the day on Sunday. "The Jolly Trolley had a great weekend," he said. From his observations driving the Jolly Trolley, Hastings described Dewey Beach as "packed to the gills. "Rehoboth did not seem as busy," Hastings said. However, the quality of visitors seemed bet- ter in Rehoboth Beach this past weekend, he said. Carol Everhart, executive direc- tor of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, said the murky weather forecast put a damper on certain business- P.S. Upon hearing forecasts of a washout weekend, several people canceled hotel and motel reserva- tions Thursday and Friday, Ever- hart said. On the other hand, "business was very good" for eateries and ice cream stores, Everhart said. With the exception of shops sell- ing beach items, most retail stores reported sales at least as good as last year. Many shop owners said they had a record-breaking weekend, according to Everhart. Stuart Kingston, which has added European and American designer clothing, footwear and cosmetics to its Boardwalk gallery, had a steady stream of business over the Memorial Day weekend, according to Mauria Stein. In a rare move, her family opened the store on Sunday after receiving a bevy of phone calls at home from customers wanting to shop, Stein said. "We sold a lot of jewelry," Stein said. "People were very impressed with the new store. They loved the new dresses." With the chilly air Sunday, Dewey Beach Surf & Sport sold plenty of sweatshirts, according to Bill Bexter, a salesman at the shop. "It didn't beat last year, but we were steady," he said. Sales were also down compared to last year at Dewey Beach Liquors, according to John Bonis- lawski, an employee at the pack- age store. He attributed the decline in sales to the weather. "The weather hurt us on Sunday a little bit," echoed Martha Sweeney, a manager at the Rud- dertowne complex in Dewey Beach. However, the rock band Love Seed Mama Jump attracted a large crowd at the BayCenter Friday night. The weather did not seem to affect several businesses in lewes. "We were really busy," said Lucy Hill, a manager at the Light- house Restaurant. Charlie Marsh, owner of Angler's Restaurant in Lewes, said sales over the weekend dou- bled last year's business on the same weekend. "People seem to be in a better mood and more relaxed this year," Marsh said. "Maybe it's the fact that they didn't have as bad a winter as last, when they were frozen in in Penn- sylvania and Maryland for a cou- ple of weeks, and they have more money to spend on vacation rather than their winter fuel bills." Denise Evans, manager at La Rosa Negra in Lewes, said the weekend was fairly good. Business was brisk Friday and Monday, and the restaurant had a waiting line on Sunday, Evans said. However, sales were down Saturday night, she said. In Milton, businesses reported strong sales, according to Barbara Fleetw0od, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce of Mil- ton. "Bed and breakfasts were full," Fleetwood said. "It was a boom all weekend." Angle Moon photo Holiday shoppers crowded into the new L.L. Bean store at the Rehoboth Outlet Center last Friday for its grand opening. Another photo and story appear on page 63. Tourism industry seeks higher prof'de; Small delegate at nattonal conference By Denise M. Marshall Highlighting the myriad of jobs supported by the tourism industry, participants at the state's White House Conference on Travel and Tourism recommended that efforts be made to educate the public to the value of tourism. The recommendation was one of a myriad of suggestions brain- stormed during the conference, which was held on Wednesday, May 24 at the Dover Sheraton Inn and Conference Center. Lana O'Hollaren, marketing director for the Ocean Outlets near Rehoboth Beach, said that the public does not recognize that tourism supports a large number of jobs in Delaware. For example, dry cleaners and dog kennels draw a sizable amount of business from the tourist market. "Very often, their livelihoods depend on tourism," O'Hollaren said. In Delaware, six million domes- tic visitors spend in excess of $800 million each year, according to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Admin- istration. International travelers contribute an additional $62 mil- lion to the state's economy. "I think what it all boiled down to is we have no current research in Delaware that paints a true pic- ture of the impact of tourism," said Cynthia Small, executive director of the Sussex County Convention and Tourism Commission. Dur- ing the conference, Small was Kay Wheatley, left, presi- dent of the Sussex County Convention and Tourism Commission-and owner of Dayspring Builders, Inc., and Jean Abplanalp, of the Step on Guide, participated in the "Tourism Industry on Parade" during the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism. elected as an official delegate to attend the national White House Conference on Travel and Tourism scheduled for Oct. 30 and 31. Tourism generates more than $29 million in taxes each year and supports roughly 12,000 jobs in the state, according to the Delaware Development Office. "U.S. travel and tourism is expected to create 2.4 million new jobs over the next 10 years," said Carol Everhart, executive director of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce. That equates to one job every two minutes, she added. By creating service industry jobs, tourism could alleviate the need for costly welfare programs, Everhart said. Although the travel and tourism industry represents the second largest industry in Delaware, the state spends very little on tourism compared with surrounding states, Small said. Delaware's tourism budget has been slashed from $1.4 million to $700,000 over the past few years. "The amount allocated for tourism in this state is very small," Everhart said. Small maintained that tourism needs to have a higher profile, especially at the state planning level. One of the recommenda- tions that came out of the confer- ence was to press for the creation of a travel and tourism position at the Cabinet level. "Tourism in Delaware must be nurtured and planned and man- aged," she said. Noting that current state market- ing efforts are segmented, Small said tourism participants also expressed a need for a better net- working base for tourism in the state. E-mail, Internet and other technological advances could be used to coordinate activities upstate and downstate, she said. The state conference kicked off Continued on page 61