Come on in! Business owners expecting festival to increase businessPublished 4:02pm Monday, January 13, 2014
When it comes to a certain weekend in early February in Washington, several downtown restaurants and shops know they’ll experience a significant increase in customers — a welcome increase.
That increase is the result of several thousand folks visiting or participating in the annual East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships. This year, the festival runs from Feb. 7 through Feb. 9.
And with that increase in potential customer traffic coming during what is the slow period of the year for many downtown businesses, the money generated by the festival weekend is greatly anticipated and appreciated.
“It’s usually a good weekend for us. It’s usually a positive weekend. We’ll probably bring in a couple of extra people,” said Glenn Weatherington, co-owner of Down on Mainstreet, a downtown restaurant.
“We may even change some of our store hours across the street — maybe try to be open possibly on that Sunday, not 100 percent sure yet,” Weatherington said about Nautilife, another business he and his wife, Gennia, own.
“I think it’s going to be a good thing this year. I think we’ve got some new vendors coming in. I think they’ve expanded it compared to what is the year before. I think it’s on the right track,” Weatherington said. “Let’s just see how the economy takes hold and see if people come out and spend money.”
Weatherington said not only does he benefit from the festival as a business owner but also he enjoys making the rounds at the festival.
“Sometimes it takes me two or three trips to see everything,” he said.
Weatherington believes the festival benefits tourists and local business owners.
“It is a good weekend. I’m thinking it’s going to bring a lot of people out,” he said.
At La Bella Slice &Ices, owner John LoGelfo also is preparing for a busier-than-usual weekend when the festival comes downtown.
“We usually bring in extra staff, run some gourmet pizza specials for the out-of-town clientele that comes in for the event. Usually, it’s a pretty good weekend for us and the area,” LoGelfo said. “Even with the decline in the economy, it seems people still have time for recreation, festivities and enjoying eating out. We definitely bring in extra staff and keep extra food on hand. We try to have specials we think the public would be interested in.”