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Service industry looks at Labor Day as a sales opportunity

September 08, 2010
In the eyes of many families, Labor Day signals the end of summer and a day off, but for businesses in the service industry, Labor Day is just another day.

Labor Day weekend is often one of the busiest of the summer for local restaurants, gas stations and convenience stores, and hotels.

It may seemed ironic that some businesses stay open and fully staffed to cater to workers who have Monday off, since the holiday began to give workers a day of rest, but it has become more of a modernized summer holiday over the years. Part of the reason is that the first Labor Day was organized by dissatisfied factory and mill workers who were working six days a week, 14 hours a day with few holidays off something generally unheard of these days. Now Labor Day has come to symbolize the final long weekend of summer.

Charles Tagget, manager of Meredith Center Store in Meredith, said his store stayed throughout Labor Day weekend and Monday was considered a regular work day for employees.

"Our sales are usually up a little bit and hopefully depending on the weather, we should be busy," said Tagget. "We get a lot of out-of-staters on their last big vacations. We're along Winnisquam, so there are a lot of lake houses."

He said sometimes employees will ask for their Labor Day weekend off, although with a small staff of six part-time and full-time employees, most of them just expect to come to work, or even want to work to make an extra dollar.

General manager of the Tilt'n Diner in Tilton, Heather Merrill said Labor Day is just another day for the diner and its employees, although it's also viewed as a busy weekend and opportunities to make great tips and sales.

"A lot of employees like to take big weekends off to spend time with their families, but on the other hand, some servers like to stay on and get extra money," said Merrill. "Our staff is great. So if someone wants the day off, someone else can grab it."

Merrill said she expected that the diner would be busy all Labor Day weekend and said she wouldn't be surprised if they hit the same numbers as they did during Bike Week.

"It's their last trips to the lake and a big weekend for families before school starts," she said.

Shalimar Resort in Tilton also reaps the benefits of Labor Day weekend tourism. Although the dining room was closed on Monday, the resort was still open.

Owner Sharon Spanos said the dining room is closed every Monday during the summer months to allow employees to spend time with their families.

"We are busy and expect to be sold out. We have one room left for Saturday and Sunday," Spanos said before the weekend.

Rob Griggs, kitchen manager of Ellacoya Barn & Grille in Gilford, said although the restaurant had a slower Labor Day Monday than usual and some servers were sent home earlier, the weekend as a whole was extremely busy.

"From what I understand, it's the same staff on that's usually here. Sunday was our biggest sale day, although we had good sales Friday and Saturday," Griggs said Monday.

He said he recalls one server asking for one night off months ago, and other than that, employees look at Labor Day as any other day.

"It's really our last week of summer, and it usually winds down until Columbus Day weekend, then it slows down again around the holidays," said Griggs.

Martin Lord Osman
Brewster Academy
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