Memorial Day is the informal kick-off of the summer retail season, especially for popular vacation spots like Smith Mountain Lake. Whether by land or by sea, the shoppers came in droves for the start of what could be a lucrative few months.
“The whole weekend for memorial day weekend – from today to monday – is going to be really busy. And that’s on water to come in here, plus all the restaurants are full – it’s not just us – so it’s a lot of people,” said Gifts Ahoy’s October Lacy.
Lacy says the store’s been packed all day, especially for those in the mood for handmade fudge.
Helen Gallagher says – unlike some other businesses at the plaza – this one isn’t so dependent on the good weather.
“And an interesting thing is – in the summer on a really nice day – it’ll be kind of slow around here and then it starts raining, and it’s crazy because everyone gets off their boats and comes to bridgewater plaza when it rains,” she said.
Among those is Harbortown Golf, a longtime staple that gets a chunk of its business delivered by water.
“Most of them come from the docks and dock their boats up over here and they’ll come around, walk around,” said Parker Thompson, on his first day on the job.
Others aren’t yet sure what to expect, like Kevin Gray, who helped open Smith Mountain Lake Coffee House only six days ago.
“Hopefully we’re here for a long time, that’s our goal, and everyone come out and visit us and enjoy the lake. We look forward to seeing you,” he said.