While the Coastal Bend is returning to normal after thousands descended on the area for the Memorial Day weekend, businesses in one local town believe those crowds will be a regular sight this summer.
Things are quiet again in Port Aransas after a busy holiday weekend; a record breaking one for several local businesses. Tourism business was booming in Port A over the holiday weekend.
“People were ready to get out of their homes and to be outdoors, and we’ve certainly seen that and benefitted from it,” said Keith McMullin, Interim CEO of the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau.
In fact, it’s been that way for weeks, ever since statewide stay-at-home orders expired.
“We’ve just been getting flooded with people in Port Aransas,” said Matt Waldron. “We were actually waiting for it to happen.”
Waldron runs two Coffee Waves locations in Port Aransas. For weeks, business at the location in the Shops at Port Aransas basically ground to a halt. But Sunday, the 10 year-old shop set a new one day sales record.
“We’ve recouped most of the losses we took during that time, which is great, and it’s preparing us for an awesome summer,” said Waldron. “We’re expecting things to go through the roof from here.”
Local hotels booked solid, and restaurants have bounced back as well.
“We’re really happy to have people coming to visit Port Aransas,” said Chris Collins.
Collins runs three restaurants; Fins Grill and Icehouse, Tortuga’s Saltwater Grill, and MacDaddy’s Family Kitchen, two of which had record Memorial Day weekends, despite dining room capacity limits.
“Economically we’re going to be ok, I think we’re going to pull through this,” said Collins. “Everything is looking really positive right now.”
The big numbers over the last month has local tourism officials confident for the weeks ahead.
"We believe that this is a sign that we’re going to have good crowds for the summer,” said McMullin. “We’re seeing great bookings for the summer as families hop in their car, load the family up and come on down to the coast.”
Tourism officials and business owners here believe that because Port A is a driving destination, the tourists will keep rolling into town all summer.