From Boats to Bottle Rockets: Summer Businesses See Busy Memorial Day Weekend

Marinas and Firework shops see increased business from families trying to have a good time in these tough times.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Memorial Day is looking a lot different in the Northland with parades and firework shows cancelled due to the Coronavirus.

So in addition to honoring fallen heroes, people flocked to more popular summer businesses in Wisconsin to get out of the house and try to do something special.

“Folks are like ‘I’ve seen enough of my home, it’s time to see the boat.’,” said Eric Thomas, General Manager of Barkers Island Marina in Superior.

The warm Memorial Day weekend overall brought about 100 boats to the Marina over the past three days.

“The fact that I’m not wearing a coat or a stocking cap is a really nice treat,” Thomas said.

But these boaters, he said, weren’t just getting out on the water for fun during the three-day weekend. “To see the boat that may have been stored all winter, pulling the cover off, doing a little waxing, getting their systems ready.”

From anglers to sailors, the quarter-mile, 400-dock harbor was packed with vessels, but not with people–who seemed to still be social distancing.

“We’re not seeing the big parties that may have been in the past,” said the General Manager. “People are respectful but really glad to get out and we think boating’s going to be a great outlet for people.”

Back on land, because of the lack of public firework shows in the Northland this year sellers like KG Fireworks Warehouse in South Range are seeing their businesses boom.

“I do believe this year’s going to be good because of the firework shoes getting cancelled,” said manager Heidi Schiefelbein. “Honestly I think Memorial Day, people are getting together to celebrate with their families and friends.”

“And fireworks are just a fun way to add some excitement,” she said.

More customers new to explosives have come in, so Schiefelbein said she’s been doing more safety education as people experiment.

“They’re getting everything from sparklers to the little novelties, to the flyers,” she said. “We’ve had a handful of people coming in and just wanting the mortars ’cause they are pretty popular. Biggest bang for your buck we like to call them.”

KG Fireworks Warehouse is still putting on their demo show on June 6th at the Poplar Golf Course, that people can watch drive-in style from their cars at dusk.

Both businesses have been outlets for families to come up with their own ways to have fun like a regular holiday, despite these irregular times.

“It’s a little slice of normal,” said Thomas.

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