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Business boom in the sunshine
1:00pm Monday 9th September 2013 in Echo News
IT has been the hottest summer since 2006 – and seafront businesses have been lapping it up.
Business has been booming for Southend and Leigh with seafront traders making the most of the extra tourists in what has been the 14th hottest summer in Essex since 1910.
Restaurants, pubs, cafes and even ice cream parlours have all reported bumper takings due to the hot weather, following several years of washouts.
Derek Jarvis, Southend councillor for culture and tourism, revealed the town had received a whopping 64,000 visitors to the pier last month alone.
Mr Jarvis said: “People are coming out to Southend and enjoying themselves, and the number of visitors to the town looks as though it is increasing.
“A good measurement of this is the number of visitors on the pier, which is increasing month on month.
“Last year was a good year because the pavilion at the end of the pier opened, but even so, figures have increased this year, with 24,000 visitors in May, 48,000 in July, and 64,000 in August.
“Southend has become a destination of choice, with many people choosing to stay longer. It would seem our efforts to make it an attractive place to come and stay are paying off.”
Julia Prewer, co-owner of the Las Vegas Grill, on Marine Parade, said the past few months had been good for the restaurant trade.
She added: “It’s been a very successful summer for us and our seafront location certainly helps with that.
“It’s been the best summer we’ve had for six or seven years, weather-wise, and it’s probably been our busiest summer too, which was particularly well received after the long hard winter.
“Previous summers have started late and ended early, so it’s quite rare for the weather to have lasted as long as it has.”
Southend-based Rossi Ice Cream had to draft in more staff to produce ice cream throughout the night, such was the demand.
Just under two million scoops of ice cream were produced by the company and sold through Rossi outlets from April to August.
Rossi director Colin Gray said: “It’s been a splendid year for the brand, especially after the past six years which, due to the weather, have been a bit lean.
“July was our biggest month over the past seven years and we’ve had sensational sales.
When you look at last July, the rain was torrential – this July,we’ve had a heatwave.
“It’s a great opportunity for tourists and people buying ice cream in our other retail outlets.
“Aside from the recent flooding, the weather has been consistent throughout the summer, which is good for the tourist industry, good for local businesses, and good for ice cream.”
Business owners in Leigh say they have enjoyed a bumper summer with more visitors than in past years.
Sara Williams, owner of Sara’s Tea Garden, in Old Leigh, said: “It’s been an amazing summer.
The sun brings everybody out and Old Leigh has become a lot more popular in recent years.
“It’s been our best summer ever – we’re very popular anyway, but this year especially has been fantastic, with a lot of local customers as well as visitors from further away.”
Craig Herbert, general manager of the Crooked Billet pub, says the weather was a great boost to their trade.
He said: “The weather’s been fantastic and it was nice to have an early start to the summer.
“After a really bad winter, we’ve managed to claw it back and made, on average, one-and-a-half times more than last summer.
“It’s been constant every day and we’re hopeful it’ll be the same for next year.”
Councillor Carole Mulroney, chairman of the leisure, foreshores and environment committee, said: “The fine weather always brings people out, especially after the awful year, weather wise, we had last year.
“It’s been really noticeable in the past few weeks that people are out and about, flocking to the Old Town which is a huge attraction and a wonderful setting.
“The town itself has hopefully benefited as well. The restaurants and bars seem to have been very busy and hopefully this has spilt over into people using the many and varied local shops.”
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