CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Padre Pizzeria has been open on The Island since the late 1990s.
The past two years have been a challenge because of the COVID-19 pandemic -- especially last year.
But they were still able to have a successful year financially.
“We did close our dining room for a time, but we stayed pretty steady," pizzeria manager Leah Pezzi said. "It didn’t really affect us negatively.”
This summer season looked more promising until the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus sent COVID-19 cases and deaths skyrocketing.
Still, the pizza shop managed to have a better season than the summer of 2020.
“Now that dine-in is back open, we’ve had more customers and stuff,” Padre Pizzeria server Avery Reed said.
A few blocks down S.P.I.D., Third Coast Beach Company also had a successful summer tourist season.
"We’re still making a lot of money," manager of the gift shop and beach supply store, Kaitlynn Suarez, said. "People are still coming in. Especially with people who didn’t come out at all last year, they’re now starting to come out."
Even with more people reluctant to go out in public last summer, Suarez says her sales were actually higher for that tourist season over the one that symbolically ended on Labor Day Monday.
"The summer (of 2020) was crazy," she said. "We made a lot (of money). I think we broke our store record last year."
The two businesses also differ on whether the believe sales will start slipping now that the summer tourist season is over.
“This is like the last busy weekend, and then it’s all school after there," Suarez said.
“I think that people are still going to be traveling out here," Pezzi said. "It’s slowed down since school started a little earlier this year. But I think that until it gets a little cooler, we might still see some people traveling through.”