Port Aransas is welcoming visitors to the island for the first Memorial Day since Hurricane Harvey hit. Meanwhile, many of the businesses still recovering after the hurricane are hopeful for a busy holiday weekend.
Because any money spent dining, fishing, or shopping in Port Aransas helps the town during its recovery, many businesses believe it’s weekends like this that are especially important. So far, businesses say thankfully the crowds are large.
Jerry Montalbo, a staff member at Deep Sea Headquarters, says business during the holiday weekend has been steady. Many customers filled the shop and many others have gone on a fishing trip.
"We’re blowing and going and we’re glad of it, because it was tough after the hurricane," Montalbo said.
After Harvey, Deep Sea Headquarters suffered significant damage and faced staff shortages. However a busy weekend at the office has them feeling optimistic.
"They come in and they say, ‘hey, this is our favorite place in the world to come. This is our playground. We want to help y’all out,’" Montalbo said. "They come, they spend their money, and that’s what we need."
Meanwhile, many visitors are picking up some sweet treats at Winton’s Island Candy. Stephen and Kimberly Winton, who own the candy shop, say the Memorial Day crowds look similar to years past.
"People are coming like we never have a storm down here," Stephen Winton said. "So we’re really enjoying it – really enjoying seeing the people and having that good feeling back of having our island back."
Every dollar spent helps toward recovery. Many visitors have kept that in mind, including Shaun Dierksen, who traveled nearly 10 hours to Port Aransas to enjoy the holiday weekend. Dierksen says since seeing the aftermath of Harvey on the news, his family knew they wanted to pack their bags to spend some time in the Coastal Bend.?
"We’re part of the re-building effort," Dierksen said. "We wanted to come spend our money here. We’re Texans and we love spending our money right here in our home state."?