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Ocean City

Warm weather and events draw crowds to resort

(Oct. 11, 2013) No matter how nasty the weather might be at this week’s end, an unseasonably warm October and special events leading up to it have boosted Ocean City business well beyond the norm.

“We would’ve probably closed on the Boardwalk by now, but we stayed open,” said Danny Robinson, owner of Hammerheads Raw Bar & Grill and Shorebilly Brewing Company. “I think it’s the combination of the events and the weather.”

“We were doing really, really well (last weekend),” said Delmar Smith, owner of businesses including the Frog Bar and Treasure Island Women’s Boutique. “Last weekend was busier than the early summer.”

Most business owners agreed that cold, rainy weather in May and June severely hampered the start of the tourist season.

“That really hurt our bottom line,” Robinson said.

But business picked up after July 4 and it hasn’t seen any major downturns since, he said.

Director of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Susan Jones said her businesses reported a similar trend.

“I have heard that it (the season) has sort of balanced itself out — that what started very, very slow and disastrous because of the weather sort of picked up when we got nice weather,” she said. “Not (for) everyone, but for most people, I think the bottom line has balanced out.”

September’s Bike Week and Sunfest and this weekend’s Endless Summer Cruisin’ car shows draw crowds, even without nice weather, Jones said.

“When people are given a reason to come via an event, they definitely come,” she said.

With events slated almost every weekend last month, “September is always one of our busiest months,” Smith said.

This year, Bike Week especially “was a huge help” for business, Robinson said.

“It’s gotten bigger and bigger every year. If every week of the summer could be bike week, I’d be very happy,” he said.

And, likely because of the weather, Biker Weekers stayed longer this year — some for an entire week or longer, he said.

“The weather has been a fantastic extension of the summer season,” Communications Manager for the Town of Ocean City Jessica Water said. “The recent temperatures have definitely generated more activity outdoors, including the beach and the Boardwalk.”

With temperatures in the 80s last weekend, Ocean City Beach Patrol Capt. Butch Arbin agreed: “I’m pretty sure 100 percent of the people that were in Ocean City were outside (last week).”

Despite mid-summer temperatures, there were no rescues on the beach last week, Arbin said. The Beach Patrol stops guarding the beaches the Sunday after Sunfest, but several employees remain on duty until next Monday, Columbus Day, he said.

While Smith said shoulder season business “absolutely” made up for the summer’s starting slump, Robinson saw it another way.

“The sun is out in June, too. There is no reason we should have to make up for it,” he said.

After talking to his customers, he said found that “people are just sick of seniors,” who come to the resort for senior week.

“It’s probably scaring away more customers than it’s drawing,” Robinson said.

Despite that, he said, “I’m thrilled that the shoulder season is picking up.”

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