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So Far, So Good

***Bumped and Updated***

It's now 2:24 EDT and we're done putting people in the water. We kicked some serious butt today, people. We put out 50% more canoes today than we did on the Sunday of Memorial Day last year. Woo hoo!


We own Gotts' Landing Canoe Rental and Trophy Waters Fly Shop located on the AuSable River in Northern Michigan. We cater to the tourists from down state who come up for weekends in the summer to go canoeing, kayaking, rafting, tubing, and fly fishing, so our business is directly affected by the rising gas prices. Memorial Day weekend is our first big weekend of business, and I am pleased to say that we are on track to meet last year's sales. We made about the same today as we did on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend last year, and we're only a few hundred dollars shy of meeting our sales from last year's Memorial Day Sunday with just the reservations we have so far alone. Since we'll have walk-in customers as well, we should meet and exceed our Sunday sales without any problem.

Update: HughS mentioned in his comment that South Carolina resorts appear to be doing well this weekend, including reservations for the upcoming months. We are experiencing the same thing here. Our reservations for the months of July and August, which is when we make 75% of our revenue for the season, are on track compared to last year, if not slightly ahead. In fact, we already have two Saturdays where we're almost sold out of equipment. Last year, we didn't experience that until the first couple of weeks into June.

Other local businesses appear to be doing well, too. Last night, we went out to dinner at Garland and we noticed that the parking lot was jammed with cars from Michigan, obviously, Ontario (Canada), Ohio, Kentucky and other nearby states.


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Comments (18)

we are on track to meet ... (Below threshold)

we are on track to meet last year's sales.

B-b-but...That's impossible! We're in a recession.

Well. Aren't we?

You guys must have a lot of... (Below threshold)

You guys must have a lot of yoopers up there. I worked in mid Michigan for a few years so I actually know what they are....not bad for a long time Jersey boy.

Ohmygod!Things are... (Below threshold)


Things are so awful that people are being reduced to fly fishing to get enough food!

And they can't afford homes, so they have to live outdoors, in tents!


KimThat was an exc... (Below threshold)


That was an excellent example of real, feet on the ground business news. And from Michigan, no less.

I hear also that South Carolina resorts are doing well not only this weekend, but also with summer vacation rental bookings.

Looks like the worst economy in decades, dragged down by the GWOT and Big Oil conspirators, is doing ok.

When was black fly season?<... (Below threshold)

When was black fly season?

Do you mean black caddis? T... (Below threshold)

Do you mean black caddis? They've already passed. Right now we've got light hendricksons that are still hatching, sulphers, and blue wing olives. My husband and son were just out on the river earlier this evening and caught two small browns on the same sulpher and a large rainbow on a light hendrickson.

Thanks, Hugh!... (Below threshold)

Thanks, Hugh!

Too bad I can't eat fish. ... (Below threshold)

Too bad I can't eat fish. I probably would have accumulated grams of PPB's the fifteen years I lived in mid Michigan.

KimI used to own a p... (Below threshold)

I used to own a property mgt company in a well known South Carolina resort. As we managed the business, recessions were always a concern that we closely monitored.

We learned the following about business downturns:

1) The first thing to go during an economic downturn in a family budget was the vacation. It was either cut back significantly or eliminated. I am encouraged that you are still attracting people who want to fly fish....that is an interesting and compelling demographic.....similar to folks who want to play golf in a specific place and what are willing to pay the price.

2) The second thing to go was private school tuition. This obviously is more serious. I've seen no indication of a reduction in enrollments locally.

Best wishes for a great season.

I always said I joined the ... (Below threshold)

I always said I joined the infantry so someone could pay me to go hiking and camping. But Uncle Sugar seemed to have ways of sucking the fun out of it.

I'm originally from Northern Ohio (Norwalk) but at retirement from the Army I decided to move to the Smoky Mountains and go in the hiking outfitter business. I have two stores now, one in Gatlinburg and one in Pigeon Forge.

I too have been wondering how gas prices were going to affect business this year. My sales have steadily risen year after year. So far this year is no exception. I'm up 10- 15% so far YTD and this weekend is booming in the Smokies.

A unique tidbit of information: Great Smoky Mountain National Park is within less than one day's driving time for half the population of the United States. Thus we are the most visited (9- 10 Million annually) and there is no admission fee for the park.

Gas hovering at $4.00 seems to O.K. for the travel industry for now, I'm just wondering about $5 + in the near future.

The way I see it, a family may spend $40 more each way to and from here, not enough to sacrifice an entire vacation for or weekend excursions.

So Ya all come down and see us, ya hear. Don't worry about all that banjo music either. Deliverance was just a movie. :-)

Hugh,The nice thin... (Below threshold)


The nice thing about our business is that it offers a lot of fun for little money. It's common for families and groups of friends to drive up, stay at nearby campgrounds, and float down the river. When a recession strikes, people may reduce their vacation but they won't give it up completely. Instead of a big trip, they may choose a weekend trip North instead. We think that's one of the reasons why we seem to be doing well this season in spite of the gas prices.

Kim,We like to fly... (Below threshold)


We like to fly fish up at Mio and Grayling and usually stay in Grayling. Are there any decent
lodges or places to stay in Mio? Also would like
additional places to fish other than Connor Flats, I think it is called.

Thanks, Kim, and we will come see you.

Hey, Deb. I would try the A... (Below threshold)

Hey, Deb. I would try the AuSable Valley Inn. That's a nice place to stay and it's right down the street. Have you ever used a drift boat? We rent 2 and 3 man drift boats, so if you want to fish somewhere other than Comins Flats, you could always put in at Comins and float down to McKinley bridge. Several guides have been asking for car spots from Comins to 4001 bridge. That's an option, too.

Gorgeous country up there, ... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Gorgeous country up there, Kim. Looking at the map of where Gotts Landing is,. if you head almost due west, you'll run smack into my family's long-time vacation spot (since the 1930s), just south of the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Ahh, what I would give to go to Michigan this summer. Just no in the cards. I'll miss the fresh cherries.

Hey Big Mo, Email ... (Below threshold)

Hey Big Mo,

Email me with your address and I'll send you some.

KimCongratulations o... (Below threshold)

Congratulations on the successful weekend! The image of your customers floating and boating (and catching rainbows and browns) is a great response to the doom sayers in the MSM.

Glad to hear things are bus... (Below threshold)

Glad to hear things are busy.

But being from the UP, I have a quibble with the references to "Northern Michigan" and "downstate." From my perspective, Northern Michigan is on the north side of the Mackinac Bridge, and anything south of the bridge is downstate.

Say yah to da UP, eh!

Clavius,Where we l... (Below threshold)


Where we live, we're Northern Michigan. The UP is the UP. I know it's odd, but that's the terminology here.






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