Black Friday and Hurricane Sandy
Although the weather impact of the storm was much less here than father south, some businesses reported an unexpected bounce - visitors stranded here because of canceled flights or power outages at home were staying over longer or coming up here to escape the difficulties imposed by the "super storm."
"We have definitely seen an influx of people coming," said July Hanes, Owner of the Inn at Manchester. "What I noticed what is different from this storm is that we lost some reservations before, like with the October snow storm or hurricane Irene, we lost reservations. This storm was different because we gained reservations."
Added Hanes, "We had one couple that was supposed to be here for five nights and they came five days earlier than their reservation because of the storm."
And she is not alone. Other hotels in the area have experienced the same and some even provided a discount of those in need. Tina Fries, an assistant innkeeper at the Palmer House, said, "We got people from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut who had no power. We have tried to give people a break and gave them a discount if they were impacted from the storm. I feel like more people made an attempt to get out and get up here if they could."
Now comes part two: with residents of the affected coastal areas still digging out from the storm's wrath, will that result in fewer visitors and potentially have an impact on what is usually one of the busiest shopping weekends for local stores?
With Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving when stores and businesses hopefully turn a profit for the year or go "into the black" - right around the corner, it should be a good gauge.
Berta Maginniss, the executive director of the Manchester and the Mountains Chamber of Commerce, said that second home owners who have fled from the destruction of Hurricane Sandy have most likely gone back to their first home and started to rebuild what they have lost, but is hopeful some families will stick around for the holidays.
"With both of our ski resorts opening, our town looking so good with construction almost complete, I think Black Friday should be better than ever," said Maginniss. "I think probably most people are getting back to semi-normal. Most of the people that we saw here were familiar with our community or were second home owners and they are probably trying to resume normal life as possible and dealing with property damages and stuff like that." With Black Friday approaching, the new Chamber of Commerce building will be expecting many new visitors.
"The visitors center is really coming along and we think it is pretty spectacular," said Maginniss. "We are going to have our grand opening on December 11 but we hope people will stop by and check out our new building before then."
Maginniss also mentioned how well the community has come together as Orvis and Burr and Burton Academy have worked with many other local businesses to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
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