It’s the unofficial start of summer, which usually means an influx of tourists for San Diego County’s coastal cities, but that’s not the case this Memorial Day weekend.
Stores and restaurants, shuttered for nearly two months, are just starting to re-open but their owners are trying to think positive.
“We’re very optimistic,” said Carole Carden, owner of Solo on Cedros in Solana Beach.
Solo opened its doors Friday at 11 a.m. and within minutes there were a handful of shoppers. Most were locals looking to do some retail therapy after a long dry spell. Few were tourists.
On a typical Memorial Day weekend Carden’s customers are a 50-50 mix of regular customers and tourists.
“Visitors are normally from LA, from Arizona, from New York and from Europe all summer long,” said Carden, who realizes that’s probably not possible this summer.
“We really don’t know what to expect,” Carden added, saying she’s just happy the store is open, even though hours have been reduced until the crowds materialize.
Across Cedros, several people sipped coffee at tables outside the Madeline French Café and Bakery. The owner told NBC 7 he’s been open for take-out throughout the coronavirus pandemic and is happy to have customers eating on his patio.
On the 101, business was good at Pelagic Performance Outdoor Gear and J&J Spearfishing Supplies. The two businesses share a store, which has remained open through the stay-at-home order. Al Gross said his merchandise is in demand, and he only expects things to get better over Memorial Day. “We’re anticipating that we should get a lot of customers out here going to the beach, passing by to take a look at our product and buying it.”
More optimism a few doors north at Neiki, which sells exotic jewelry, sculpture, candles and even furniture.
“I was a little nervous at first,” said Nicole Pawling. “But I’ve noticed over the past week we’ve had people coming from Arizona, from New Mexico, from all over the place.”
Pawling doesn’t expect the kinds of crowds she usually sees during Memorial Day, but she does expect an up-tick in business.
“I’m a positive person. I try to put a positive spin on this,” she said.
NBC 7 reached out to both the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Tourist Authority for an estimate of how business would be impacted by the loss of tourism this year. Neither organization would speculate.