Wind once again caused waves to batter the Lake Ontario shoreline Friday, but that wind isn’t taking the sail out of local business owners.
They’re taking matters into their own hands to remind the rest of Western New York that “Olcott is Open” and that it’s not all bad news in lakeshore communities.
Karen Young – who owns Gift Box at the Beach and runs the Lakeview Village Shoppes Facebook page – is behind the new social media campaign, #OlcottisOpen.
“That was what we really wanted to get out there…was that all the businesses are still open, the festivals are still going on,” Young said.
Friday night, the Shoppes were not only open, but also hosting live music and wine tasting. It’s a weekly event they hope brings in visitors and boosts business. The boardwalk business strip also hosts farmers markets.
Next door, James McDonough worries about continuing property damage and the lack of rooms he’s booked so far this season in the three waterfront properties he owns.
McDonough wants his clientele, usually fishermen, to come back.
“Everybody’s open. Like I say, up the street, we got the Carousel Park for the young kids, plus we got the village here with all the little shops,” McDonough said. “We can do business as long as we get some good weather to get the people here, but we need people, is what we need.”
Businesses don’t want to hurt like they did in 2017, when some would-be visitors stayed away. That’s why this time, people like Young and those invested in the tourism industry are trying to get ahead it with #OlcottisOpen. Young hopes more people are noticing it.
“A lot of people are saying they’re seeing it. Of course we know in the social media world, everything gets shared a lot quicker and a lot faster, and I think it is catching on,” she said. “And the nice thing is we do have the history, so people kind of know ‘okay, the flooding was bad before, but the businesses weren’t affected.’”
A few weeks ago, Wilson’s mayor shared a similar message reminding the public that Wilson’s business district is not affected by flooding.
It’s perhaps a little more perilous for the Lakeview Village Shoppes, which sit right on the lake, next to Olcott beach, which has already been closed indefinitely for the season. But shop owners are determined to persevere.
“You know, no matter what the lake level is, we can still provide a really fun day trip and lots of good times here in Olcott,” Young said.
Flooding remains a grave concern as property owners face the reality of potentially more damage, but the attitude of business owners and the motto they hope you remember is that Olcott IS open.