Summing up summer
Labor Day weekend is finally upon us. Island storeowners and staffers can take a deep breath and be reassured that the brunt of the summer commotion is over. Rounding out a summer that was anything but ordinary - what with a downturn in the nation's economy, months of atypical weather and a visit from the First Family - many Island business owners and employees, who had originally anticipated a fiscally conservative season, had some interesting reactions when asked: "How would you sum up your business this summer?"
Manager of the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs for 21 years.
"Well, like everyone else on the Island, I thought that the season started slow and picked up in July. And August has been a great month. One of the high points of summer was when the Obama girls came in here last week. It went very smoothly, because I don't think anyone noticed they were in the building. The only reason I picked that up was because a secret service guy was with them, and he also got on the carousel. They waited in line for two rides, and the older one got the brass ring and won a free ride, but she gave it away. The attendant asked her if she wanted to ride again, and she said, "No, I have to go, but you can give it away to someone else."
Owner of Vintage Jewelry in Edgartown and Vineyard Haven.
"Business has been great for us this summer. I was a little worried about the recession, but things have been okay. We just moved to this location from a little shop around the corner, and sales have increased dramatically. But, I really have nothing to base it on because this is our first year on Main Street."
Owner of Scoops, Edgartown Cinemas, and the Edgartown Paper Store, among other businesses in Edgartown.
"It's been steady, and we're doing okay. I'd say business is about the same, or probably close to last year. As far as the recession, we've got nothing to worry about; as long as we get paid, everybody's happy."
Owner of Bramhall & Dunn in Edgartown and Vineyard Haven.
"Business has been really good for us here this summer. We've been really well received and it has been very gratifying. We already had the store in Vineyard Haven, and we had the opportunity to open here, so we decided to just go with it and I think it's been a really good move. It's been a fun summer."
Manager of Edgartown Books.
"Business has been steady, and we really have been pleased. I think people have been conscientious this summer, but in all honesty, the weather has helped. We are definitely holding our own, and I've been pleased."
Sarah McDonnell and Sarah Aliberti
Co-managers of Summer Shades in Edgartown.
S.A.: "The first half of summer was definitely rough for us, with the weather and the economy. Then July was better still, but August was definitely the best. The Fourth of July was a big weekend - that's always a good one for us."
S.M.: "The daily average amount has increased since last year's amount, but overall we have noticed much less foot traffic, and much less volume."
Owner of Big Dipper, Little Dipper, and Carousel Ice Cream Parlors in Oak Bluffs.
"The summer started off pretty slow, but July and August have been very good for business. We've got some good kids working here, and I love the mix of local kids and kids from abroad - that's kind of the fun part. Our numbers are a little down from last year over all, but it's been a big season. We started serving breakfast this year, which was new, and that worked out pretty well, also. Last year business dropped off after Labor Day, but this year there will be some cruise ships coming in, and we're hoping the fall will be a good season for us."