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Santa Maria businesses optimistic as summer travel season nears

Santa Maria Inn

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Santa Maria businesses are optimistic the fast approaching summer travel season will be successful.

Strong travel numbers throughout May have been reported by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber, giving local businesses an encouraging start to the season.

"It's been off to a great start," said Santa Maria Valley Chamber Tourism Director Jennifer Harrison. "We really kicked off May with between our wine trolley and the BBQ Festival and various things that happened in the community, It really just exploded in terms of overnight stays and travelers visiting our community."

This upcoming Memorial Day weekend officially kicks off the summer season with the West Coast Kustoms Crusin' Nationals, one of the biggest annual events held in Santa Maria.

"This weekend typically sells out across the city," said Harrison. "I think the benefit of having an event organizer come in from outside of the area is they have a following that also brings new money, new revenue, new sales into our community sales tax revenue, so that's always a welcome benefit to having this events in town."

The car show attracts hundreds of customized cars from around the nation, attracting thousands of visitors, who fill up local hotels, restaurants, shops and local attractions.

"I think it's a boost in business for everybody," said Scott Shute, The Historic Santa Maria Inn General Manager. "It's our biggest event of the year. We look forward to this every year. It's been many, many years that we've hosted and it's always an exciting time for us."

Just as the all the cars and the car enthusiasts leave town, the will kick off the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo and Parade, which is scheduled for next week.

The back-to-back events are expected to sell out hotel rooms across the city, as well as flood other businesses with streams of customers.

"I feel like Memorial Day really kicks off what is typically the travel season," said Harrison. I think for us locally it kicks off event season for us. We have the West Coast Kustoms car show that comes into town that everyone looks forward to, followed by the rodeo. Shortly thereafter, you have the fair and plenty of car shows throughout the summer. It really is a fun time in our community."

Business owners are optimistic that a strong start to the summer season could be the start of a successful run over the next several weeks and months.

"It's actually picking up a lot more," said Maya Mexican Restaurant owner Teresa Paredes. "People are finally coming back out and I'm really happy about that. Deliveries have picked up. Even our food trailer events have picked up, so parties are picking up. People are getting married. People are having birthday parties. People have been having graduation parties, so it's been good. It's been really good."

Parades added that she's hopeful the perpetually gray overcast and cold weather will become more seasonal, with warmer temperatures and clear blue skies, which she said will help draw in more business.

"We are hoping for good weather," said Paredes. "I think we're all needing it by now. We are over this rain and this cold, so I'm really hoping our patio will fill up. I am looking very hopeful for this summer as things have been getting back to normal, that's always a huge positive."

Article Topic Follows: Travel
local business
memorial day weekend
Santa Barbara
santa maria elks rodeo
tourism industry

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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.


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