07/03/05 — Businesses prepare for big July 4 weekend

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Businesses prepare for big July 4 weekend

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 3, 2005 2:00 AM

The new owner at the Best Western Goldsboro Inn said Friday afternoon his hotel wasn't filled with holiday travelers yet, but by the end of the day, it would be.

Ash Patel, who bought the Best Western at 801 E. U.S. 70 Bypass in April, said he was expecting a 75 percent to an 80 percent increase in the number of travelers coming through Goldsboro to destinations to celebrate the July 4th holiday. He said he normally has about 50 percent of his rooms full.

"We get mostly travelers, not many locals, because of the rates," he said. "We do get some locals, but not many."

He didn't bring in any extra staff, and Friday was just another normal day.

Rick Best said he learned his first year at Retro Lube at 1000 Ninth St. that the week before the July 4th weekend is a big car maintenance week.

"We've been bombarded all week," he said Friday morning. "Our traffic will be up by about 30 percent."

He said he expects to see more than 400 cars come through the Retro Lube for oil changes and safety inspections from Monday to the end of the day Saturday. He said he is running an extra shift, and customers might find themselves not having to wait as long as they normally do. He said he normally has a crew of five or six. This week, he said, there are nine.

"We're ready for it, because we know it's coming," he said. "Everybody knows vacation days and doctor appointments have to come later."

It's too late for pet owners to find boarders for four-legged family members. It's one of the heaviest times of the year at the grooming kennels.

Dan Cope at Jerric's Kennels on Rodell Barrow Road said he is booked for the weekend.

"I think you'll find that at most all the kennels," he said. You want to book a month ahead for a holiday and a week ahead for a weekend, he added. "I have reservations for Christmas already. They're regular customers who know the situation."

Handy Marts have brought in more people, too, to keep up with the increased holiday traffic.

Ray Bunch is vice president for operations at Pope Oil Co., which owns 45 Handy Marts across eastern North Carolina. He said he expects to see a 15-to-20 percent jump in business this weekend.

"We see a very large peak a couple days before the holiday and as people return to their destination," he said. The customers gas up for their trips, stock up on food and fill their coolers.

He said it's hard to tell what the gas prices will be, but they may vary a lot, between $2.05 and $2.15 per gallon.

Gas prices are up from last year, but Bunch said he thinks people are still going to travel this year