79 / 59
      84 / 68
      80 / 59

      National Cherry Festival benefits downtown businesses

      Many businesses wait all year for the 500 thousand people that flood into town for the National Cherry Festival.

      The 88th National Cherry Festival ended Saturday, but local businesses said sales for the week were a huge increase compared with the rest of the summer.

      Many businesses wait all year for the 500 thousand people that flood into town for the National Cherry Festival.

      â??We really depend on Cherry Festival to bring a lot of our summer sales,â?? said Haystacks sales associate Mary Garner.

      Haystacks in Traverse City usually has two employees in their store, but during the festival they had seven people working each day to keep up with all the customers.

      â??It was a lot busier with a lot more foot traffic and a lot more customers,â?? said Garner.

      Businesses credit the Blue Angels coming to the festival this year with the increase in customers, but Haystacksâ?? sales we're the same as last year.

      â??We had a lot of people coming into the store buying smaller items such as scarfs and jewelry but not as many of the bigger items because with it being so busy the dressing rooms are always full,â?? said Garner. â??We do have a lot of sales it's just smaller sales so adds up at the end of the day.â??

      That is not the case for every business. People may not need to shop, but they do need to eat.

      â??Business has been extremely well this year, good numbers, lots of people, lots of traffic, lots of pizza,â?? said Paesanoâ??s Pizza Owner Bob Kolarik. â??Some of the best Blue Angels numbers we've ever seen.â??

      Paesano's Pizza on Front Street said their sales are up from last year.

      â??Can't make it fast enough, can't cook it fast enough, it's a good thing, it's a good day,â?? said Kolarik.

      He said they don't expect to see a decrease in sales through the rest of the summer.

      â??We still have a month and a half of really good sales but it's the first good week,â?? said Kolarik. â??It's a good test to get all the bugs out of the system and it's been overall very well this year.â??

      Several hotels in Traverse City said they were booked both weekends of the National Cherry Festival, and most of the week as well.