Slow Start to Boating Season Means Slow Business Along River - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Slow Start to Boating Season Means Slow Business Along River

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High water has been the norm on the Mississippi for much of the year so far. It's been keeping boaters off the river and away from businesses that rely on boaters during the summer months.

For a lot of businesses that set up shop right on the water, the Mississippi River is one of the big draws for customers.

"It is part of what we're selling here is access to the river, and the beauty of being on the river," Cynthia Bawden, owner of It's On The River, said.

Sales this summer at It's On The River in Port Byron are down about 20 percent.

The consistently rough boating conditions we've seen so far have taken a toll on several businesses' bottom lines.

"It doesn't surprise me because I think people are wary about putting their boat out on the water," Joann Dunn, a boater who stopped to eat at It's On The River, told us.

"This is the fourth time I've been out, and by this time, I don't know, I've been out probably twenty times by now," another boater stopping for dinner at the restaurant, Ryan Sargent, said.

Even the few boats that docked here to run in for a bite to eat Friday were jumping the gun a bit.

The dock is only just now back above water, and owner Cynthia Bawden says clean up could take a few days.

She says safety has to be the priority, so, for now, there's a picnic table blocking the walkway to dissuade boaters from trying to use the dock.

"As much as I'd love the customers, it's not worth people damaging their boats and getting hurt," she said.

In the meantime, customers are coming in by car, bike, and on foot to spend their money.

At Green Gables Marina in LeClaire, it's a different story. Ninety-nine percent of its business revolves around boating.

People aren't taking their boats out so they're not bringing them in for service. Boaters haven't been buying a lot of gas this year either - They haven't had to.

"We're usually boating April 1 all the way through the end of October, and we've only been out twice," said KV Dahl III, who was preparing to take his boat out at Green Gables.

The staff at the marina says July 4 was only their second good day of the season.

But, while business is slow now, there is still a lot of the boating season left, and everyone we talked to is crossing their fingers for a lot more good boating days - and business days - ahead.

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