It’s a balancing act for island businesses | Editorial

A handful of the businesses and restaurants in Eastsound were closed on Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend. The result: frustrated tourists and long lines out the door of the few restaurants that were open.

One lodging owner told us: “For the first time ever, we received a negative review from someone and it was about the lack of food and shopping options over Labor Day weekend.”

Another island businessperson said: “A family came in, asking where they could eat lunch. Their little girl was crying because their one restaurant option had a long wait.”

We understand that after a busy summer of non-stop work, a day of rest is imperative. As we wrote last week, your brain needs a break. We also understand that it costs money to open your doors, and perhaps historically Sunday and Monday are slow days. We understand it’s a balancing act faced by many businesses: taking a day off versus serving our visitors every day.

But we don’t want to get a bad reputation, whether it’s in an online review or word of mouth. And this summer has been one of the best in years, as we reported last month. For April through June, Washington State Ferries recorded an overall rider increase of 1.8 percent for the San Juan Islands routes; Orcas was up 4.6 percent. We’ll have the July and August results soon.

And luckily, the season isn’t over yet. Visitors still come here in September and October – and the holidays are just around the corner.

Our island community has had a wonderfully successful summer. Thank you to everyone who has devoted so much time and energy during a hectic time.

We hope the coming months are equally prosperous with happy business owners and happy tourists.