Atlantic City businesses benefit from Miss America's return - NBC40.net

Atlantic City businesses benefit from Miss America's return

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ATLANTIC CITY -

Business owners hope Miss America will leave them seeing a shade of green.

"Usually after Labor Day, everybody goes home from vacation you know, but a lot of people came out. We didn't know what to expect, it hasn't been here in so long so it turned out pretty well for everybody," said Joe Scillieri of Jersey Shore Pizza and Grille.

Businesses along the boardwalk say the Miss America pageant and the events leading up to it brought more business then they are used to seeing in what is usually referred to as the off season.

"It was really busy, it was like a holiday basically," said Scillieri.

Officials say the pageant’s national exposure and the two weeks of events leading up to the contest was good news for the entire city.

"Estimates are between 225 thousand and 250 thousand visitors for the parade. It looked like the Fourth of July on the boardwalk, it was packed, all the restaurants, all the shops, all the casinos," said Liza Cartmell, President of the Atlantic City Alliance.

And other weekend events not related to Miss America, like Sunday’s triathlon and the weekend long seafood festival only served as icing on the cake.

"For a weekend in September when it’s getting a little cool at night, the days are chillier, it was fantastic for business," said Harry’s Oyster Bar owner Frank Dougherty.

But not all businesses are calling the weekend a success. Management at the Econo–Lodge on Pacific Avenue say they were not even thirty percent booked while "One Stop Two" on the boardwalk stocked up for a rush of costumers that did not happen.

"A lot of people was here, a lot of people, more than before but the business was not that much," said Employee Ijaz Saleem.

For businesses that saw no effect, they believe the pageant may have been a bit of a distraction. With all the excitement surrounding the return of Miss America, they believe shopping was the last thing on some people's mind.

"They came for the pageant, that's true,” said Saleem,“they came for the pageant not for this shopping. They were not in the shopping mood."

Despite the varying opinions of business this weekend, some realize the return of the pageant at least allows for the opportunity to make money at a time when some may be thinking about closing.

"You only have a few months to make real money before everyone goes home and when you get an event like this come, it helps out with that last boost," said Scillieri.

Atlantic City officials say the televised pageant only increased the city's nationwide visibility and ratings for the event were up 33 percent over last year.

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