2017-07-13 / Front Page

Merchants: Holiday was a blast

Dan Parker
News editor


Heavy Alister Street traffic crept past a sign proclaiming no rooms were available at Amelia’s Landing Hotel on Saturday, July 1. Port Aransas merchants said business was good throughout the July 1-4 holiday period. 
Staff photo by Dan Parker Heavy Alister Street traffic crept past a sign proclaiming no rooms were available at Amelia’s Landing Hotel on Saturday, July 1. Port Aransas merchants said business was good throughout the July 1-4 holiday period. Staff photo by Dan Parker Good weather and a long July 4 holiday weekend sent business in Port Aransas skyrocketing, at least according to some merchants.

“It was crazy, very busy,” said Gilbert Ritz, chef, manager and operating partner at Trout Street Bar and Grill. “Weather was the big factor. It’s been a great summer, so far.”

Last year, newly-full rivers and lakes were a draw away from the Texas Gulf coast for many travelers.

“This year, they got their fill of that, and they’re back to the beach,” Ritz said.

Business was “phenomenal” during the July 4 period, according to Mike Mitchell, co-owner of Island Surf Rentals.


Mackenzie Chapman of Aransas Pass, who works at The Islander, shows hermit crabs to tourists Jeremy and his mother Cheryl Champagne of Austin on Saturday, July 1. 
Staff photo by Zach Perkins Mackenzie Chapman of Aransas Pass, who works at The Islander, shows hermit crabs to tourists Jeremy and his mother Cheryl Champagne of Austin on Saturday, July 1. Staff photo by Zach Perkins “Like many in Port Aransas, we’re a sunshine business, and the great weather we had made for a great Fourth of July.

The Family Center IGA had a good weekend, said Mike Hall, co-owner and store director.

“It was (better than) last year, but we’ve got to remember that last year was a bit soft,” he said.

Many visitors this year stayed straight-through, for five days, starting Saturday, July 1, waiting until Wednesday, July 5, to leave, Hall said.

Virginia’s on the Bay had probably 900 to 1,000 customers each day throughout the holiday period, said Alice Bearrow, manager. A normal summer weekday might produce 700 to 800 customers, she said.

“We had a lot of people say they took vacation to stay (longer),” Bearrow said. “They were really making it a family time.”

Some folks did leave town early, said Jill Els, assistant manager at Sea Shell Village.

Els said her lodgings pretty much filled up through the weekend, but not on Tuesday, July 4.

Holiday Inn Express sold out, but it was with many guests staying only for one or two nights at a time, said manager Melanie Nixon.

“A lot of it is because people don’t make plans like they used to,” she said. “There are a lot of spur-of-the-moment trips.”

But, at Spanky’s liquor store on Alister Street, customers commonly told manager Alicia Thompson that they’d taken the whole week off to visit Port Aransas.

It didn’t hurt that the July 4 holiday and the 82nd annual Deep Sea Roundup took place the same week.

“There was a steady flow, never a moment when there wasn’t someone in my store,” Thompson said. “They were coming in by the carloads.”

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