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‘It was insane’: Unprecedented times lead to business boom at Smith Mountain Lake

Memorial Day to Labor Day is “make or break” time for businesses at the lake

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. – Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer but business at Smith Mountain Lake is still booming.

“This year, it was insane,” said Quincey Price, general manager of Bridgewater Marina.

Traffic on the water is expected on Labor Day but that’s how the lake has looked most of the summer.

“We have never had this kind of demand. We’ve never done this type of volume before,” Price said.

Price said this has been their best season by far thanks to more people getting outside during the pandemic. The last ten weeks have been booked solid. It’s a business boom they didn’t see coming.

“We legitimately had no idea what this summer would look like. There was a world where nobody was traveling anywhere and that would have been a big zero for us. It would have been impossible for us to recover from,” Price said.

The stretch between Memorial Day and Labor Day is make or break time for most businesses on the lake.

“You’ve got to make it while it’s hot, literally,” said Jason Hodnett, general manager of Mango’s Bar & Grill.

While many restaurants have suffered during the pandemic, Hodnett said they’re only down a little from this time last year.

“We’re fortunate and blessed to have the opportunity to still do business kind of almost as normal,” Hodnett said.

Labor Day typically wraps up busy season but this year, it’s still going, with boats booked solid for the rest of the month.


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