Business Summit: Summer 2015 Was Sunny All Around

first_imgCrowds jam the boardwalk on the Fourth of July in 2015.The No. 1 factor lined up in Ocean City’s favor in the summer of 2015: The weather was great and so was business.Leaders from Ocean City’s different business segments offered updates on the summer season Tuesday at the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Business Summit and confirmed that it was a good one.The event took place at the renovated Adelene restaurant overlooking the beach and boardwalk on the first floor of the Port-O-Call Hotel.Some of the reports included:Hotels, Motels and B&Bs: Pat Gallelli of the Ocean City Hospitality Association called it a “phenomenal season.” He said the accommodations industry saw growth in July, a great August and a surprisingly strong September. “We didn’t have enough help,” Gallelli said of September when many of the seasonal employees are gone. “The weather couldn’t have cooperated more,” he said. “Thank the Lord for two great summers.” But he also thanked the city for a supportive marketing program.Restaurants: Jane Davis of the Ocean City Restaurant Association called summer 2015 “fabulous” and said Ocean City restaurants “certainly saw growth and were up from 2014.”Board of Realtors: Board President-elect Joe Carideo said weekly rentals — the “backbone” of the summer season — were “absolutely outstanding,” and he agencies are already seeing a lot of bookings for 2016. Closed deals on sales are up from 644 to date in 2014 to 696 in 2015, he said. Another 135 properties are under contract.Entertainers stroll Asbury Avenue during one of the Fantastic Tuesday promotions.Downtown: Downtown Merchants Association President Paul Cunningham reported on the group’s marketing efforts to reach its primary market (second homeowners and year-round residents) and its secondary market of visitors. He said downtown merchants are preparing for Saturday’s Fall Block Party, which can be the biggest day of the year for many. The downtown will continue with promotions that include the return of holiday decorations, the Earlier Than the Bird shopping weekend and a full schedule of holiday events.Boardwalk: Boardwalk Merchants Association President Wes Kazmarck said Ocean City experienced a cold May and wet June. “But when the weather turned in July, we were off to the races.” Kazmarck said people assume that owning a boardwalk business is “money in the bank” without really knowing all the factors that go into any business’s success — many of the factors beyond anybody’s control. But he said the city and business community’s efforts to collectively promote Ocean City go a long way to helping merchants. “It is money in the bank here, and it is because of what this town does.”City of Ocean City: Ocean City Finance Director Frank Donato said the city broke records for both beach tag and parking revenues in 2015. The city sold $4.18 million worth of beach tags this year, up $130,000 from 2014. The total included 116,000 seasonal tags, up 2,200 from 2014. More than 400,000 daily, weekly and seasonal tags were sold. Parking revenue will fall just shy of $3 million this year, up $175,000 from 2014. Seven of 11 Monday night rock concerts at the Ocean City Music Pier were sold out. He said boardwalk reconstruction between Seventh Street and Eighth Street will begin immediately after Columbus Day Weekend, and north end beach replenishment could begin later this month.Tourism Commission: Commission member Mike Allegretto reported on the multi-faceted marketing campaigns funded by the commission — from billboards on the Walt Whitman Bridge to television and magazine ads that reach Ocean City’s core visitors.Chamber of Commerce: Shawnda McGinnis reported on the Chamber’s efforts to reach visitors directly through the Route 52 Welcome Center and seasonal 34th Street Welcome Center, through printed visitor guides, through the Internet (including a Facebook page with 111,000 likes, and email distribution list of 75,000 and a website with 2.1 million views year to date).Chamber Executive Director Michele Gillian had introduced the event with a reminder that tourism is the biggest industry in Cape May County and one that in some way affects every business large or small in Ocean City.She enumerated the many awards and honors Ocean City received this year, but she took time to recognize that Ocean City was named one of the five best places in the nation for women-owned businesses.Bowfish Kids owner Caitlin Quirk, Jon & Patty’s co-owner Patty Talese and Sun Rose Words and Music co-owner Roz Lifshin each made brief remarks about running a business in town.last_img read more

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