Tybee Island businesses preparing for impact of holiday weekend crowds

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 3:49 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Businesses on Tybee Island are getting ready for the hustle and bustle of crowds that are expected to turn out for Memorial Day weekend. After the subdued nature due to COVID last year, many businesses say this weekend will most likely see bigger crowds than a normal holiday weekend.

Preparing is the key word here. One business owner said they are expecting the largest number of people to be out here since the pandemic started.

“We’re preparing for Armageddon! That’s how it is,” Sugar Shack owner Bruce Grosse said.

That’s how Grosse describes what they’re preparing for on Memorial Day weekend. He says business has been tough, already, as they work to keep up with the demand.

“The people are just swarming in on the beach and we’re short help,” he said.

Like many other businesses a help wanted sign is slapped on the door and now that peak season is here, Grosse says customers are understanding.

“They say they’ve been here, there or everywhere and they’ve seen the same thing,” he said.

It’ll be all hands on deck this weekend.

“Lines to the street this weekend, but we’ll be ok! It’s been a struggle for everyone,” Grosse said.

Grosse says it is wonderful to see this much business after last year, but it has been overwhelming.

“I’m having to get ice cream three days a week just to be able to handle it. We’ll go through hundreds of tubs of ice cream in a single week and still run short of ice cream,” Grosse said.

On a normal weekend, Grosse says they make about $7,000 per day. He says it is hard to tell the profit this weekend will bring in.

Tybee Island city officials say they are expecting huge crowds this Memorial Day weekend as they’ve already seen very busy weekends over the last few weeks.

Several people at the beach Thursday say they chose to come to the beach this week, so they could leave before the crowds get here on the weekend.

In fact, that was the consensus with most people. They say they have heard how busy it gets during summer holidays, so they wanted to beat the rush and save some money.

“Just to beat the crowds and as you can see, there’s a lot of people out here and the COVID thing. They want to get out of the house,” said Lonnie Gordon, visiting from Indianapolis.

“Right now, it’s not that many people and it’s not as crowded. Really, just before Memorial Day it starts to get packed, the roads get packed,” said Cheryl Haun, visiting from Pennsylvania.

A good reminder for people heading to Tybee this weekend is the parking services department encourages people to come early if they want to find parking. Any time after 11a.m. is usually a waiting game.

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