It was sunny, mostly.

There was no talk of snakes, or seaweed, or any out-of-the-blue hysteria about bacteria levels in the water.

Spring break on the upper Texas coast can be a crapshoot. The water is still cool and the weather can be uncooperative. It was only last year that heavy rains hit Houston, causing the first of a series of major floods in the city, and according to some locals, keeping the beach crowds away.

Spring break 2017 was decidedly different according to some local retailers.

“It’s the best spring break we’ve ever had,” said Clyde Wood, the owner of The Witchery, a “purveyor of esoteric goods” on Postoffice Street in the island’s downtown.

“When I came out of my office last Sunday, it took me a while to get to the register in here, because it was shoulder to shoulder,” he said. “The cash register numbers are better than they’ve ever been. We’re breaking records.”

The same refrain could be heard at Ohana Surf & Skate on Seawall Boulevard, where free parking spaces were few and far between all weekend.

“We’re definitely seeing more traffic,” said Monica Adams, an assistant manager at the store. “It’s hard to say why, because the weather was not the prettiest, but we still had good days.”

Winter, which officially ends at 6:29 a.m. today, was unusually warm in Galveston, with more than 30 record daily highs set between November and March.

That trend changed at the beginning of the week, with mostly overcast skies, but that didn’t seem to keep most people away, Adams said.

“We had a tons of people from the Northeast,” Adams said. “Tons of Dallas-area people. Iowa was a random one. We had some Italians in here the other day.”

On The Strand, Nicole Miller was blowing a bubble gun at passers-by, trying to get them to come in to Bunch’a Cool Stuff, a gift store she’s managed for about a year.

This year was better than last and the crowds haven’t been too crazy, she said. Many of the people that have come in have said Galveston has really improved since Hurricane Ike, now almost nine years ago, Miller said.

There is one question everybody seems to ask though.

“People are saying that Galveston has changed a lot and downtown is really nice,” she said. “The only thing that I’ve noticed is that a lot of people ask for the trolley.”

Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or john.ferguson@galvnews.com. Follow him on Twitter, @johnwferguson.

(3) comments

Joe Flores

spring break always has increased traffic and good business...been in Galveston retail business for 35 years and there have been many , many mo ' bettah ones than this year ....especially the cash registers !! Galveston does seem to have more visitors , but less money spent except for beer and trinkets ...Quality VIsion needs to be focused upon John .... peace b wit U . have a nice day

Steve Fouga

A quick point about Spring Break 2017: Almost all TX colleges and Houston-area ISDs had their Spring Break last week. Most years it isn't quite as concentrated into one week like that. I wonder if that makes a difference in how businesses fare. Surely it changes how we perceive the crowds.

Joe Flores

You are so right Steve... Usually 3 weeks down to one ... Over already !

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