Saturday, April 13

West Palm Beach businesses ‘see light at the end of the tunnel’

It’s day two of the Palm Beach International Boat Show and downtown West Palm Beach businesses are saying they are having the busiest days they’ve seen in a long time after a hard and long year.The Palm Beach International Boat Show brings $600 million to Florida’s economy. And $100 million impacts the local economy. “Every hotel in the vicinity is full. The restaurants will be booked,” said Andrew Doole, president of the Palm Beach International Boat Show.Reservations are overbooked at many restaurants like Avocado Grill’s Sunday brunch.”Yesterday was the best boat show day that we’ve ever had,” said owner and executive chef Julien Gremaud.”The boat show is an iconic event for West Palm Beach, and to be able to do it coming off the year everyone has had really means a lot to us,” said Drew Shane, general manager of Elisabetta’s Ristorante.”It feels amazing. It feels like life is back to normal,” said Thierry Beaud, owner of Pistache French Bistro.Even a coffee shop is feeling the grind.”It’s a relief. It’s a sense of new beginnings, things starting to turn to normalcy for us,” said Laura Olson, owner of Johan’s Joe Swedish Coffee House & Cafe.”It really affects a lot of different businesses in the local community,” Doole.Elisabetta’s just opened along the West Palm Beach waterfront. “I think we are introducing ourselves to a lot of people,” said Shane.”We always meet new people this time of year,” said Olson.Owners said the public feels more secure about the pandemic.”‘Hey, we’re vaccinated. We’re finally coming out again,'” said Beaud.”We do see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Shane.Many businesses are anticipating an uptick in business.”I think we are going to have a really prolonged season because I think people are going to stay down here,” said Gremaud.Many are gleeful about day two of the boat show.”It’s really amazing,” said Shane. “It’s a sense of optimism, and we as a staff are really pumped up about it.””This is super exciting. We’ve been waiting for this for over a year now,” said Gremaud.”I hope people flock here, safely,” said Beaud as he smiled ear to ear. The common theme from all these businesses is that they are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel from the coronavirus pandemic. That’s mainly because everyone will be able to get vaccinated by April 5.

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