Businesses Weigh In On Coast Guard Festival’s Impact

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — While the Coast Guard Festival draws nearly 350,000 people every year to Grand Haven, you’d think it would be a welcomed boost for businesses.

For some businesses it is. For others, it’s a little more complicated than turning a profit.

Artero’s Tacos enjoys the crowds. The authentic Mexican Restaurant is in the thick of traffic off of US-31.

“It gets pretty crazy. I mean, we get twice [as many] people than a normal day,” Arturo Orduno, the owner said.

He said he ordered twice as much food to prepare, and it’s pretty much all hands on deck during the peak hours for the ten-day event.

Traffic is jam packed. Tourists looking for a quicker way to navigate town headed to Rock ‘n’ Road Cycle to rent a bike. Employees there said business hasn’t been any busier. It’s just a different customer base needing rentals and repairs, and staffing stays the same.

“We’ve got a lot people with flats, so we just try our best to help them out,” Michael Demarco, an employee said.

For those who stick to driving their vehicles, parking can be a pain. That’s not only because it’s limited, but those who dare to park illegally risk getting towed.

“It costs me money. Every week I’m in Coast Guard, it costs me money,” Richard Berg, owner of Dick’s Towing and Recovery said.

“Do you think we profit? I don’t think so. I would hate to add up today, everything that I’ve spent,” he said.

“I would say that with these three full-time drivers that I got plus myself, if I break even I’m pretty good.”

Berg said between paying his drivers overtime, supplying food for family and friends in the garage during the fest, and waiting for motorists to pick up their impounded vehicles it’s a hassle.

“It’s a pain in the butt,” Berg said.

“Just a regular week out of the summer is better than Coast Guard week,” he added.

Sunday, “Worship on the Waterfront” is scheduled to take place at Waterfront Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

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