SPI sees massive economic boom, 230% increase from last year
Business is booming on South Padre Island.
Last June, bar owner Harry Dholwani was worried COVID-19 would close down his business, Harry's Bar, for good, but this year has been the complete opposite.
"Things are looking good," Dholwani said. "Hoping for that to continue."
All over the island, bars, restaurants, golf cart rentals, and other businesses are thriving.
Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Alita Bagley says most hotels are at high occupancy during the week, and some are sold out entirely on weekends.
"You get down here, and you don't have a place to stay," Bagley said. You're probably not going to find a place."
The Texas Comptroller's sales tax report shows a 31.5% average increase in revenues statewide compared to May 2020.
However, the states' already significant increase is outshined by the island's massive jump to 230% more revenues year to year, while also seeing the highest gains in the first half of a year in almost a decade.
Harry's Bar, known by locals as the spot to have a simple, cheap drink, is getting in on the action; they're adapting little by little to the new clientele.
"People would ask for the product White Claws," Dholwani says. "We have to bring it in. We're doing pretty good on that product."
But it's not the usual crowd of college kids; Bagley says it's more families and first-time island.
Bagley says they're optimistic this will be their new normal.
"It may not go back to where we come to a screeching half after Labor Day," she said. "I think it might continue. I think a lot of people think it may."