Holiday Business Not Bad Despite Rain - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/07/03

Holiday Business Not Bad Despite Rain

Stormy skies scared some visitors away from the coast this year. But we found mostly positive reports from the holiday weekend.

The rainy weather hurt some businesses, but actually helped others.

"Now you just call Shotgun and me if there's too much money for you to tote," said the animated robot, riding atop the stagecoach at the entrance to Boomtown Casino.

Shotgun and his robot partner greet guests at Boomtown. They expected to greet more visitors this Fourth of July than last, but threatening skies prevented the back bay casino from enjoying a star spangled weekend.

Chett Harrison is marketing director for the casino.

"It helps us if rain is not projected and then they come to town and then it rains, that's absolutely the best situation for us. But when it's projected all week and it's been nothing but rain for a month, that's not good. Not the best situation," he explained.

Storm driven seas actually helped boost business for the largest beach vendor in Biloxi. Ron Carter says his business was far better than you might imagine, despite the rains.

"The Fourth is not usually stormy like that. But we made the best of it. We went out and rode in 12 foot waves and had fun with that. Then all of a sudden it cleared and then, bang, everybody was back riding again," he said.

Many of those beach visitors who decided not to weather the wind and waves looked for indoor activities instead. Like shopping. That's why nearby Edgewater Mall was such a popular spot this weekend.

The manager of Dillard's department store says the store posted its best weekend of the year. Others reported similar success.

"For the mall, rain is a friend. It really is. Unfortunately, we're sad that some people didn't get to go on with their holiday plans. But we're glad they came to the mall and shopped with us," said mall marketing manager, Michelle Rogers.

Despite gloomy weather, the tourism business weekend wasn't a washout after all.

WLOX News checked with several other businesses which depend on tourism. The director of Beauvoir says their numbers were down slightly from a year ago. Lynn Meadows Discovery Center hosted about the same number of visitors as last year.

By Steve Phillips

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