HOLLAND, Mich. — Holland is a tourism town, but no one did much touring last summer. Businesses took a hit, but now some are seeing record-high sales.
We spend all winter waiting for our West Michigan summers.
“What a difference this summer has made,” says Onalees Manager Alisha Guy.
Alisha noticed a big difference in her store's bottom line.
“We’ve had the biggest time we’ve ever had as far as sales go,” she says.
Foot traffic is back, and hotels are at 70 percent capacity — what they were pre-COVID. And there are three new hotels downtown that weren't there summer 2020.
“Very important, for us rebounding as a business,” says Hops at 84 East General Manager Stephen Rich.
At businesses like Hops at 84 East, they know they wouldn't have made it through if local dollars didn't stay local.
“We were very blessed the local community helped us out as much as they did,” says Rich.
Sales for the West Coast Chamber of Commerce's West Coast Cash program, where people buy vouchers that can be used at various businesses around town, sold roughly $25,000 worth in July 2021.
In July 2020, they sold about $5,000 worth.
“People had to be very intentional about supporting those local businesses,” says Alisha, who says it's all paying off, one customer through the door at a time.
“It was so important that we had good weather," Alisha adds. "People were able to travel, and did.”
West Coast Cash is available for local businesses to purchase as gifts for employees as well, another reason the chamber says they've been able to increase support for local small businesses when summer tourism ends.