ENGLEWOOD, Fla. -- The first ever power boat race along Englewood Beach is in the books. Many say they had a good time, but some local businesses say it actually hurt their bottom line.
Jerry York, race director for the Charlotte Harbor Super Boat Grand Prix, says he's received a lot of positive feedback about their inaugural event. “Sometimes you hear ‘it's not my first rodeo.’ It was our first rodeo."
He says traffic, off-site parking, security, and the overall experience went smoothly, bringing in three times as many boats as anticipated. "Ecstatic. Everything went to plan. We exceeded most expectations."
However, not everyone is thrilled.
"A lot of negativity; business was down," says Rick Schattauer with the Gulf View Grill right across the street. He says they and other restaurants in the area actually lost money, as regulars and seasonal guests were scared off.
The numbers they were expecting didn't come. "We were set up for customers coming by and walking the beach. It just wasn't there."
For those selling beach accessories, it was perhaps a different story.
“I think it went fairly well." Tiffany Larson with the Barefoot Trader says it was an average day. "Just because it was our busiest time of the year, I didn't really see much of a difference."
York says they are still tallying the numbers. However, he says that scheduling around a late Easter this year probably had an impact -- something which will not happen in the next few years. "It will be well after Easter, where this one was on Palm Sunday; our initial plan was to have this really help extend our tourism season."
"We are busy this time of year in general. To bring people here when we are slow would be ideal," says Larson.
More advertising and allowing more parking near the beach were other suggestions.
York says they're ready for a second go-round. "It's a definite plan to keep bringing this on."
Some of the organizations which were raising money for local not for profits by selling drinks say they too sold less than they had anticipated. However, they were very happy with what they did get for a first time event.