Cruisin' means big bucks for coast businesses

Cruisin' means big bucks for coast businesses
Just about every business benefits, even auto parts stores. (Photo source: WLOX)
Just about every business benefits, even auto parts stores. (Photo source: WLOX)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Expectations are running high as Cruisin' the Coast is about to rev up. Thousands of cruisers and their classic cars will be here in less than a week. They not only bring their rides. They also bring a lot of spending money.

When the cruisers arrive, they need a place to stay. Hotel managers roll out the red carpet. Rita Brown is the housekeeping manager at the Hampton Inn in Biloxi.

"We're sold out every night of the event. When people are checking out the last day, they're trying to book for the next year. Obviously, it's not open to book yet. People want to make sure that they have their rooms for next year," Brown explained.

At Klassy Kompliments in downtown Ocean Springs, the cruisers compliment the financial bottom line. That's the feeling of owner Lynn Lott.

"It's the jump start of our busy season, so it's great for us. It helps get bills paid off, and it's wonderful. We love it. We love the cruisers," Lott exclaimed.

The cruisers arrive hungry. At Snapper's, it's like a nine-day holiday party for owner Mark Balius.

"Cruisin' is the equivalent of a Fourth of July weekend. Like a good summer weekend. That's what it will do. For about a week and a half, you have very good business," Balius said.

Just about every business benefits, even auto parts stores. Sometimes, the classic cars need replacement parts to keep running the roads. Daniel Widener is the general manager at Advanced Auto Parts.

"It is actually one of our best times. It's one that we actually wait all year for. You get to see the old cars. You get to help people out with restoring their old vehicles," said Widener.

While most of the economic impact from Cruisin' the Coast is felt immediately, cash changing hands at a moment's notice, some of it is considered long term. The reason why is cruisers come down here from other states for the first time, and they like what they see and want to move here. Lisa Drew-Authement is a real estate broker.

"One lady came one time. She was here last year for Cruisin'. She went home, put her house on the market, came back, and we're closing on Friday. She wanted to close in time for Cruisin'," said Drew-Authement.

Here's more proof that the cruisers not only being cars, they also bring economic well being. A study done five years ago estimated the event has an economic impact of $20 million.

The official Cruisin' the Coast dates for this year are Oct. the 2 through Oct. 9.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.