Is spring break broken? Uncertain season ahead

The spring break season begins this weekend and there is some uncertainty over what the season will look like.

“This time last year we were hiring we were getting ready for spring break,” Bob Brown said. “This year, we’re taking vacation.”

Bob and his wife, Marcy, are taking their vacations before anyone else is. They own K Tori’s Cleaning Services but the couple says it doesn’t appear as though they’re sweeping up business like last year.

While the Brown’s have about 20 percent more customers than they did last year, Brown said their bookings for the six weeks of spring break are down 50 percent. Last year they hired about seven additional cleaners for the season. This year, they’ve hired no extra staff.

Based on their numbers, they have their own reservations about how successful the summer traffic will turn out to be.

“Only about a third of our customers rent to the college spring breakers. The rest rent to families,” Brown said. “Even with the restrictions that everybody says is keeping the college kids from coming, based on our numbers, we don’t think the families are coming either.”

But Austin Bennett isn’t so sure the season will be a total washout. Bennett said about 60 percent of his business rides on spring breakers riding his paddle boards.

“Doing the same thing, gearing up, placing orders getting stocked up getting ready for everyone to start beating the doors down,” he said. “Because once the door opens up it does not stop.”

Bennet said he is getting more calls for rentals. He said he believes the sanctions on restricted drinking on the beach spooked people into thinking there’d be no business. But he said the delayed bookings have more to do with the economy than anything else and he is preparing for a full season.

“Whispers of no drinking on the beach isn’t going to deter the thousands of people to come down and enjoy Panama City Beach for what it truly is,” he said.

Source:  News Channel 7

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