Holiday weekend was a washout for many tourism businesses

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Some might call it the perfect storm. A long July 4 holiday weekend drowned out by heavy rains for three of the four days. For tourism businesses that rely on good weather, this was a weekend they would soon like to forget.

At Gulf Hills golf course, the three day deluge meant no one was dropping off their bags for a day on the links.

Gulf Hills assistant manager Wally Page said, "Well, it completely ruined our weekend. We had a group coming in from Louisiana, the Ford group and we lost them this weekend. And of course, really no play. No play at all. We also had some damage done to our course also during the weekend."

Beach vendors fared just as badly. Duke Middleton of Jet Blast in Biloxi still has a truck bed full of gas, because no one was riding the jet skis. His bottom line took a big hit.

"That money is definitely lost forever," Middleton said. "We work all year for just this weekend so basically we're out till next year for sure."

The same was true at the Biloxi small craft harbor bait shop. No boaters meant no business. Pat Kuluz is the owner.

"Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were very, very slow. Not a typical Fourth of July weekend by far. We did a little bit of business in between the showers, but not near average," Kuluz said.

The rainy, miserable four-day Fourth of July holiday weekend was not a total washout for every tourism venue on the coast. Those that offered covered parking and indoor facilities fared much better.

Places like Sharkheads Souvenir Shop, where Brent Pierotich is the manager.

"With all the rain Saturday and Sunday, we were able to provide customers a place where they can park and get out of their car and come into the store and stay dry and that was big for us," Pierotich explained. "We think it really helped us do better that most people and I guess we were fortunate in that aspect."

Tourists also like to shop, and what better place than rain free Edgewater Mall.

"We actually had a phenomenal weekend. If you take the whole weekend down starting on Thursday, sales were up tremendously in the mall," Edgewater Mall manager Terry Powell said. "We had great traffic, it was almost like Christmas in here."

Maybe at the mall, but certainly not on the beach. The only good day for outdoor tourism venues was Thursday, July 4. The rain held off for most of the day, and business was brisk.

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