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Shore Merchants Are Closing the Books on Summer 2013 [POLL/AUDIO]

It was a rough summer for many merchants at the Jersey Shore.

Casino Pier in Seaside Heights
Casino Pier in Seaside Heights (Mark Wilson, Getty Images)

In addition to damage from Superstorm Sandy, businesses had to contend with a rainy June and a series of wet holiday weekends which affected the already sparse crowds.

The official numbers won’t be out for a few weeks, but business on the Seaside Heights boardwalk had mixed results.

While the beginning of the season had universal challenges for all attractions, shops, and restaurants; the reopening of the once-destroyed Casino Pier gave businesses on the north end some momentum.

“People came and they came right off the pier over to me,” said a boardwalk game vendor.

Booths on the southern end weren’t as lucky. The manager of several attractions near where Funtown Pier once stood said with the rides still closed, he saw a bigger reduction  in business than anticipated.

“Our nights would end earlier, not as many families. We need a pier down here so people would bring their kids. Without the rides it hurts, we ended up doing only like 50 percent of what we did last year.”

A manager at Big Hearted John’s clothing store in Seaside said the borough doesn’t do all it can to make itself “visitor friendly.”

“They need to be more realistic with pricing. You need to treat tourists like you want you want them to come back, and that goes for parking tickets as well. For example, charging them so much for parking and then giving them a ticket if it’s over for a minute.”

Merchants already have their wish list of what needs to be done before summer 2014.

“They got to build the pier, and some of the houses have just sat dormant and they need to get those built and moving and rented. If that happens we should see a spike,” said a boardwalk business owner.

While summer is technically ended, it’s not the end of business at the shore, especially as towns try to extend tourism in the months of September through November.

However, owners aren’t holding out too much hope.

“We don’t have big plans, just whatever we can do. Whatever we can scrape out of this.”

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