Some small businesses in the area see a huge increase in
sales, but it mostly depends on what type of business it is. Restaurants in the
downtown area see a particular boom, while shops of various sorts end up having
to wait until the festivities on the bridge have packed up. Businesses located
closer to the bridge see an even higher increase in revenues.
Julie Jones, co-owner of Gumbo’s Cajun Restaurant in
downtown Fayetteville, says that the
event is the restaurant’s biggest day of the year.
“Bridge Day is our single busiest day of the year. It’s a great day for us. People come in from all over the country and
we’ve had a couple people come in from out of the country. So, it’s fabulous
exposure for downtown Fayetteville.”
But other types of businesses, like the New River Antique
Mall around the corner on High Street, don’t see an increase until the
festivities are shut down on the bridge. The business relocated to downtown Fayetteville
3 years ago after a fire destroyed their Oak Hill storefront in September
Steve Slockett who deals sports
memorabilia at the shop, said Bridge Day isn’t necessarily their biggest day of
the year, but they do see a slight increase later in the day.
“They don’t come into Fayetteville—they’re
on the four lane. They’re three and a half miles away. They are having a band in
town with a chili cook off so we’re looking for some increased foot traffic
between 3 and 6 o’clock today.”
While the boom for downtown businesses seemed to be influenced
by what they offer, businesses closer to the bridge are constantly busy. At the
end of Keller Ave. Sharon Rynard, who owns Studio B Gallery and Gifts, saw a
huge boom in sales on Saturday. The
shop, located within a few hundred yards of the bridge, sees virtually all foot
traffic headed back towards downtown. Rynard’s store and parking lot bustled
with both tourists and locals.
“This is definitely our biggest weekend and it’s a great
time to have it because it’s at the end of Gauley season for us, which is a big
revenue producer as well. We have additional volunteer staff on board during
this day just because the sheer amount of people that are here. You can see them lined all the way down the
road. I’d say our increase in revenue this weekend has got to be, I’m going to
guess it at 500 percent, probably.”
Aside from individual increases for the weekend, the
community as a whole seems to benefit. Small business owners do their best to
share the wealth, says Julie Jones of Gumbo’s.
“As a small businessperson in Fayetteville,
West Virginia, I feel that we all try to
have each others’ backs. We send people
to other restaurants when we are full, we tell them about the little cute
stores down the street. We try to keep them in this community and I know that
other people do the same for us.
is just a great boom to everybody’s business. If you notice, we have different flyers from places and other peoples’
businesses in town in here and we’re talking them up and asking them, ‘Hey,
where are you going next?’ and ‘Hey, you might want to stop down the street.’”
Denise Scalph, who owns a boutique gift shop called
Wisteria, echoed Jones’ sentiments about the sense of community.
“The networking is wonderful. We each have our own little niches. So, there is no competition in town. We as a
whole compete against other small communities throughout the state.”
In recent years, local government, businesses, and other
organizations have helped generate attention downtown through the afternoon by
establishing various events to keep tourists in the area.