Cold weather impacts events and economy

Cold weather impacts events and economy

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - For many of us, another day of this cold spell is nearly impossible for us to warm up to. Some visitors on the other hand, see our weather as an escape.

“Since I'm from Montreal, there's a lot of snow and it's really cold over there, so its really good here,” said visitor Melanie Maltais. “The sun is good and there is no snow.”

Melanie and her family grabbed a cup of coffee, chairs and soaked in the snow-less weather at the Market Common. They're not the only snowbirds who called our area their getaway.

“They have ice and snow,” said Cheryl Charlesen referring to her home state Pennsylvania. “There's none here, none here.”

Sharron Morin is also a return visitor; she's in from Canada.

“Minus 41 back home,” said Morin. “Minus 41 - so this is like balmy weather for me.”

However, it's not quite balmy weather for everyone. Guests say when it comes to handling the cold, whether its here, or there, their advice: take the good with the bad. If you're prepared, a little cold won't ruin an entire trip.

“We go to movies, we go to shows, we go out to dinner. There's always lots to do here, and we shop,” said Morin.

For businesses that thrive on the sunshine, cold can completely change their bottom line.

“When it's cold like this the local people don't really wanna come out, the snowbirds aren't moving around," said owner of Drunken Jack's, Al Hitchcock.

Restaurants along the Marshwalk depend on foot traffic, but when temperatures drop, business can take a dive with it.

Restaurants try to cater to you with heated patios and indoor entertainment, but even still, Hitchcock says a cold winter night versus a mild one could be a 15 to 20 percent difference in business.

Regardless, the managers at Wicked Tuna say, when you compare this year to previous ones, business is up.

"This off season has been fantastic; we're actually doing very well or local support is up dramatically which is great, so we have a lot of great locals coming out and supporting us every night,” said Wicked Tuna Head Chef Dylan Foster.

Inlet restaurants host big events to attract visitors and boost off-season sales.

“The Marshy Gras, last week we had the Taste of the Marsh Walk, we do Halloween, we do various things throughout the year,” said Hitchcock. “Most of our promotion is this time of year, this is when we need people to come out.”

The weather can certainly put a damper on plans, like Friday, for the Marshy Gras. It was originally supposed to be held on Tuesday, but was postponed because of the round of bad weather. Even though the forecast Friday doesn't look much better, restaurant owners are hopeful for a good turnout. One business owner said he thinks Friday will be better for business because weekends are where the money is.

If you want to show your support for Marshy Gras, it includes parades, costume contests, live entertainment, and new Cajun-style food. All of the Marshwalk restaurants are taking part in the event starting Friday at 5 p.m.

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