Did good fortune shine on Jersey Shore businesses this summer?
SEASIDE HEIGHTS — When it feels hotter than 100 degrees outside, 120 tons of air conditioning come in handy.
That's what brought droves of customers into Lucky Leo's Amusement Arcade on the Seaside Heights boardwalk on several days during summer 2016.
Mother Nature was quite kind to businesses along the Jersey Shore this summer, even over Labor Day weekend when the Hermine storm system was expected to drench the state.
"We didn't get too much rain and that's the big thing for a beach," Steve Whelan, Lucky Leo's owner, said of the summer. "When it rains, you look bad, you look like you're not a good businessman. But when it's sunny and 85, you look really, really smart."
The arcade was coming off a phenomenal 2015 season and Whelan said this summer's numbers were right in line when considering the indoor games and outdoor booths.
The borough as a whole has been struggling to bounce back in the eyes of outsiders who saw the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and a catastrophic fire in 2013.
Lucky Leo's used to be midway on the boardwalk. Now it's essentially at the end.
Business keeps exceeding expectations at Molly and Zoey, a boutique in Pier Village along the Long Branch beach.
According to manager Aimee Gregorin, activity in the shop was "awesome" this year.
"For us to nail the trends each summer is a pretty awesome thing, and if we do, then business is great, and business was great," Gregorin said. "Every year it keeps getting better."
At the mid-summer mark, several towns along the shore reported better-than-usual beach badge sales. Both Long Branch and Seaside Heights had significantly higher badge revenue in early August.
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