After rainy summer, SML businesses happy with sunny Labor Day - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

After rainy summer, SML businesses happy with sunny Labor Day

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On a beautiful Labor Day afternoon, the parking lots, boat dock, and beach at Smith Mountain Lake State Park were packed with people celebrating the unofficial end of summer.  Also celebrating was Park Manager Brian Heft.

"We look forward to having good crowds," said Heft.  "We are a weather dependent business -- so it does help to have a nice, sunny day."

Heft says those sunny days became a more rare commodity this season.

"I've been here 20 years and this has been the rainiest summer I've ever seen," said Heft.

Heft says because of the weather, park attendance is down 10 to 15 percent from last year.  He says the silver lining is that cabin rentals -- their biggest money maker -- were still relatively strong.

He was also pleased to see the summer season end on a high note.

Businesses at Bridgewater Plaza also enjoyed Monday's weather, which brought out huge crowds.  At Mango's Bar and Grill there were far more full tables on their outdoor patio than empty ones.

"People are able to pull up onto the docks here, grab some lunch, and go out and enjoy the rest of the day before they go home," said Jason Hodnett, General Manager at Mango's.

Hodnett says the restaurant lucked out this summer, in that many of the rainiest days were earlier in the week, when they expect less business.  On weekends that the weather didn't cooperate, he says there was a noticeable difference.

"We want a nice day here everyday with the size of this patio," said Hodnett.  "So it's always good when it's sunny."

And he's glad Mother Nature let that have one last hurrah on that patio Monday, as they get set for what he hopes is a slightly less wet fall.

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