May long weekend busier than ever
|By Jennifer Hughey - Contributing writer | May 26, 2016|
Yard sales, ice cream and patios, oh my!
And the seasonal kickoff was the best in memory for Highlands retailers. Glorious weather was the driver, according to an informal survey of businesses across all four municipalities, including grocers, restaurants, marinas, gas stations and coffee shops.
“The weather makes or breaks it,” said Amanda Casey, store manager at Kawartha Dairy in Minden Hills, which recorded more than 3,700 transactions, 400 more than last year “Nice weather always brings people in,” said Joanne Sharpley, owner of the Haliburton sports store.
Sharpley said Friday was the store’s best day of the weekend, selling “tons” of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.
“Everyone voiced how long of a winter it was and were super happy to be back,” she said.
Cathy Agnew, owner of Agnew’s General Store in Wilberforce said there were constant line ups at the ice cream counter, the garden shed and in the plumbing section.
“It was very busy, busier than last year definitely,” Agnew said. “Hopefully it will be like that all year.”
An gas station employee in Haliburton said sales were much better compared to last year and that Sunday and Monday were way busier than in previous years.
At Todd’s Independent sales were almost identical for the Haliburton grocer.
“If you factor in the Thursday, Sunday and Monday, the buffer days, we were up [in sales],” owner Steve Todd said. But last year, Friday was a PA Day for students and so traffic was higher.
Todd was a little worried about the construction at Head Lake Bridge, thinking it could deter cottagers from coming in to town, but said in the end it wasn’t any worse than anticipated.
Weekend sales were up 25 per cent at Harper PowerSports and Marine, said general manager Dan Bursey adding that he could use more staff in both Minden and Haliburton.
“With new boats and those coming out of storage, we delivered 120 boats this weekend,” Bursey said, as opposed to only 90 last year. In the next two weeks, more than 700 boats will be taken out of storage and delivered to cottages all over the county.
Lisa Turner, owner of The Pepper Mill Steak & Pasta House in Carnarvon said it served more than 170 guests both Saturday and Sunday and that it was the busiest Victoria Day weekend in years.
McKecks Tap & Grill’s assistant manager Jessie Frybort said the Toronto Raptors playoff game had their restaurant and bar at capacity until 11 p.m. Saturday night, something they haven’t seen in previous years.
“We had a completely full house at 8:30 p.m. which was wild for us,” Fyrbort said.
Baked and Battered Cottage Bakery and Fish Fry manager Owen Duhaime said it was one of the best weekends they have had in four years.
JENNIFER HUGHEY is a contributing writer for The Highlander.