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Boom or bust? Business owners react to Memorial Day weekend crowds

Posted at 8:44 PM, May 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 02:45:55-04

CLEVELAND — Mother nature couldn’t ruin Memorial Day weekend for some Cleveland business owners.

“We had a couple of nights of great business and we're really looking forward to duplicating that moving forward,” Rick Turner said.

Turner said his venue, FWD Day + Nightclub, will host a concert Wednesday to celebrate the end of statewide health mandates.

“Over the past year we've really had to pump the brakes on a lot of things that we've been doing,” Turner said. “We wanted to operate in a safe and responsible manner.”

Business was also booming at Lindey’s Lake House in The Flats.

“This year is 10 times better than last year. This weekend's been very good, minus Friday. Our patio has been full all day long, which has been great. I believe everything is breaking now and I think we're going to have the best summer yet,” Patrick Granzier said. “All the boats are out today and you’re seeing a lot of boats you didn't see last year. A lot of foot traffic down in The Flats here.”

Colleen Bailey visited for the weekend and as a server herself said she understands firsthand the staffing shortages currently plaguing the restaurant industry.

“It's a drastic change. Honestly, I feel like all morale is high and everyone's just having a really good time out in the sunshine. It just feels really good to be able to be around more people again,” Bailey said. “I totally feel for all the workers here and how crazy it's been. Just not having all of the workforce that they're used to having with this amount of crowds going on, so it's definitely a struggle for them.”

Granzier acknowledged that predicament and said hiring staff to keep up with the summer hustle and bustle will be his business’s biggest obstacle.

“Until we can get staffed up, that's going to be the biggest challenge right now,” Granzier said. “We're doing signing bonuses at a lot of our locations. We're just trying to be the employer of choice right now. Take really good care of our staff, make them part of the family.”

After nearly 15 months of trying to keep a restaurant afloat during a pandemic, Granzier said Memorial Day weekend proved hope is on the horizon.

“The past year and a half has been very rough on every restaurant in the city and the state, but we do see the light at the end of the tunnel right now,” Granzier said.