The long Fourth of July weekend, for some Groton businesses, ran like clockwork. Visitors poured into the town for Independence Day attractions and provided a minor boost to the local economy.
“It was very steady,” said Michael Stafford, executive chef at Fisherman restaurant. “I haven’t looked at the numbers yet. I wouldn’t say it was a bad weekend for sure.”
Stafford rarely sees attendance spikes at his restaurant around the holiday.
“It’s not like Memorial Day,” he said. “People plan ahead. The Fourth of July, honestly, for restaurants, is not a benchmark because there are so many things going on.”
Memorial Day, Stafford said, sees the start of the summer season and visitors tend not to plan accordingly. Gas prices rise to catch this fallout.
“[But] it’s a big barbecue weekend,” Stafford explained of the recent holiday. “People are having parties at home. It’s more of an outdoorsy situation.”
“We had a really good Fourth of July,” said Nancie Keenan, owner of the Groton Inn & Suites. “It was better than last year.”
The Groton Inn & Suites saw a 15 percent increase in visitors over the long weekend compared to numbers observed on Memorial Day. Visitors not only opted for longer stays, but chose to stay multiple nights in apartment suites—an unusual phenomenon at this time of the year.
“The more economical rooms [tend] to sell out first, but the apartments sold out first,” explained Keenan. “People had no cost sensitivity. They were not eating out. They wanted a kitchen.”
Groton Inn & Suites offers barbecue facilities on-site for its guests. This year, it also boasted a special Fourth of July menu at the adjoining restaurant.
“That was a big hit,” said Keenan. “There was barbecue chicken, potato salad, and baked beans. It was a real favorite.”
Keenan believes the timing of the holiday made all the difference for hoteliers.
“The holiday landed on a Monday and that really helped a lot,” she explained. “People had continuity…the way the calendar hit was a good thing.”
“[On the whole], people have less disposable income and that’s going to affect everybody across the board,” said Stafford. “Times have changed so much, but people still need to have fun and enjoy themselves. And that’s what we’re here for.”