It seems uncertainty has replaced consistency as the word to describe summer business at the beach this year, as many owners say their business has been good one day and horrible the next.
What factors are driving the everyday uncertainty?
“Weather,” said Skip Windemiller, Oceanside Real Estate and Insurance owner, who knows a lackluster summer when he see one. “My sense is that Hampton Beach is unique in that all business really ends up the same.”
Windemiller said most often business will rise at the beginning of summer and fall at the end, or fall at the beginning and rise at the end. This reverse cycle of business has many owners trying to ride out the down times until the good times return.
Windemiller said when it comes to summer beach business, there are two categories: Rentals and everyday business.
“The rental business is different from the day trade,” he said. “We are a little more steady, while the day trade is so dependent on the weather and so many other factors.”
Windemiller said his business has changed considerably because of the power of the Internet.
“Now, we have at least 70 percent of our business done on the Internet, by people who are able to look on the computer instead of coming down here, and I think that might hurt some daily businesses.”
The story is grim at the Lighthouse Groceria.
“Business has really been down,” said employee Alex Loiseau. “I think business on the whole down here is declining, and it doesn’t seem like the beach is attracting as many families as it did before.”
Richard Feugill, owner of Beachside Bagels and Subs, puts his business loss this summer somewhere near 25 percent.
“The weather is the most fluctuating part about having a business down here,” he said. “The economy hasn’t helped either, even though the gas prices are not the problem anymore.”
“More people seem to be taking weekend trips instead of spending the whole week here,” he said.
By Alexander Plummer, Seacoast Online