Can you feel the lightness in the air? The lower humidity, lower temps and the turning of a calendar page all seem to combine this time of year to produce a bit of, well, what should we call it? Fall Fever? Almost Past Hurricane Season? Season’s a Comin’ Fever?
Whatever we want to call it, there’s a definite change in the atmosphere here on our Island. And a very welcome one at that!
Summer is a difficult time for many of our businesses. And if it’s difficult for businesses, it’s difficult for their employees. There is so much that is unknown during our summers.
Will we have a storm severe enough to disrupt our economy? Will our water quality be good enough? Did last year’s Red Tide and Blue Green Algae keep people away? Will tourists come to our Island during off season? Will the exchange rate between the euro and the dollar keep our European visitors away? Will the perception of a news event lead visitors to look elsewhere for their vacation spot?
So many things that none of us can control. And those are added on top of those that are in our control.
Do we have enough help or too much? How much inventory should we have? Should we adjust our summer hours? Can we afford to renovate? Should we close for a few weeks this summer? Will our customers think we’ve closed for good?
Successful business owners on Fort Myers Beach have nerves of steel, the optimism of Little Orphan Annie and a keen understanding of the seasonality of our market. So many factors to juggle, some predictable, some not.
During and after the summer of 2018, many of our Island businesses dug deep into savings to stay open and pay their staff, hoping for a good season and needing a decent summer of 2019. A few closed for good.
Our 2019 season and summer was a bit less busy than usual, with businesses still dealing with the aftereffects of last summer. Yes, our water has been good this year, with some spotty drift algae issues. Yes, summer visitors did come to our Island, just not as many as we’d normally see.
It’s important for our community to remember that the end of the 2018 Red Tide outbreak was not the end of the economic challenges for Fort Myers Beach businesses.
Our local businesses need the support of the local community year-round, but especially during the summer and fall. Going out to lunch? Pick a beach restaurant. Friends coming to town? Give them a quick Island tour and stop for cold beverages at one of our local pubs, then walk to another for dinner. Give them a good taste of our Island flavor.
When was the last time you took in a weekend Sunset Celebration in Times Square? Or enjoyed a boat tour? All the amazing vacation activities and amenities that bring people here for season, are available right now without the wait or the traffic. Take advantage of a few of them.
Support your local businesses – we all need each other!