VERO BEACH – Cyberspace now has a national toe-hold in Vero Beach.
The month of March has been a busy one for barrier island businesses, thanks to Travel and Leisure Magazine Features Editor Niloufar Motamed. Since naming Vero Beach as a “beach getaway within reach” during her Feb. 17 spot on NBC’s “Today” show, Yahoo! claims the town is its most searched beach destination.
Zero Beach no longer, Vero Beach is officially a national spring break destination.
“People around here might wonder why anyone would travel across the country to go to Vero Beach for spring break,” said Riverside Cafe bartender Josh Chapman. “It is a little unbelievable, but the weather is easy to take for granted when you live here.”
According to Chapman, business at the barrier island’s busiest bar has been very good through the first two weeks of March.
“It has been busy, and lot of the people I graduated with a few years back have come into Riverside the past two weeks,” Chapman added. “This whole month is going to be great because the colleges go on spring break at different times.”
Across the Indian River, Joey’s has seen a strong influx of spring break traffic and a dramatic increase in sales so far in March.
“I’m seeing college aged kids from 21-23, and they were faces I didn’t recognize. You can tell it was mostly a spring-break crowd,” said Joey’s bartender Joe Gilman.
Not all of the college kids are coming to Vero Beach for typical spring-break experiences, though.
Notre Dame freshman Jack Moore brought three friends from his dormitory home with him to Vero Beach in search of sunshine and relaxation.
“I don’t really know a lot of people who are really going around looking for a lot of parties,” said Moore. “All of my friends just want to hang out at the beach and decompress.”
“There is nothing more appealing, after being up at Notre Dame for a semester, than coming down to Florida for some sun,” added Moore.
Polished has seen a large influx of customers between the ages of 18-21 in the store over the past two weeks.
Owner Tanja McGuire says all three of her beachside stores (A Pampered Life being the third store) are significantly busier this March than last year.
“Our Vero Beach property runs at 100 percent occupancy for almost the entire month of March,” said Associate Sales Manager Jason Johnson of the Disney Vacation Club. “With it being almost entirely a time-share property at this point, families book their stays through their memberships months in advance there.”
The Farmers Market, although it is a non-traditional spring break draw, has been exceptionally busy according to vendor Louis Schacht of Schacht Groves.
“I have noticed more people at the Farmer’s Market over this spring break than in years past,” said Schacht. “Every year I notice more young people in Vero Beach this time of year. Whether it be spring break, or the adverse weather up north, something has driven people down south.”
Claudia Arens, owner of The Tides, said:”It is great to see a strong flow of automobile and foot traffic up and down the beach.
“We have definitely seen an increase in customer traffic and sales this year as the economy starts its slow rebound,” she said. “The fact that Vero Beach has recently been featured on national TV is nothing but good for our local economy.”