There is little doubt that this summer will be one with an asterisk next to it when it comes to business in many towns and areas that depend on tourism.  

New boardwalk in Seaside Heights (Facebook)

Of course the nature of the business is that some years are better than others and it’s usually based on factors that you have no control of like weather, beach conditions, gas prices and more.  This summer though presents a challenge that might be too much for some to overcome and my guess is that for some business owners they’ll be in another line of work come next year.

As always happens someone will benefit from the suffering of others and resort towns that are in better shape could see a business boom because if the sun shines people will want to go to the beach somewhere.

Clearly the area that faces the greatest challenge this summer is in and around Seaside Heights.  With the cooperation of many and the leadership of Mayor Bill Akers the borough has done a remarkable job to get ready for the summer.  The naysayers predicted there was no way the boardwalk would be open but it is and while there is work left to be done it actually looks better than ever in some cases.

However even from a distance you notice something missing and that’s the sight of rides moving and the sounds of people screaming. They are both noticeable by their absence.  There is some relief coming in early July when the Casino Pier plans to be open with about 18 rides on the bottom level while the Storino Family rebuilds the remainder of the Sandy-damaged amusement pier.

Dizzy Dragons lined up while the ride is built (Facebook)

Unfortunately at the southern end of the boardwalk in Seaside Park the Funtown Pier will not operate at all and its future remains uncertain.  The biggest concern among some business owners is that a lack of rides will send thrill seekers to other resort towns and it’s a justifiable concern.

However the mile long boardwalk still has plenty to offer including pizza from Three Brothers, the Sawmill and Maruca’s. Actually at Maruca’s its called Tomato Pies.  There are Midway cheese steaks, Kohr’s ice cream and orangeade, Berkeley Sweet Shop, the Beachcomber, Jack & Bill’s.  If you leave the boardwalk then you can enjoy lunch or dinner at Klee’s Bar & Grille or Hemmingway’s among others.

Here’s hoping that between now and September we get a break from Mother Nature and she sends plenty of sunshine our way.  It won’t get us even from Sandy…but it will be a start.