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Wildwood businesses prep ahead of Memorial Day weekend: "You gotta make it in the summer"

Wildwood businesses gear up for Memorial Day weekend: Getting ready for summer rush
Wildwood businesses gear up for Memorial Day weekend: Getting ready for summer rush 02:22

WILDWOOD, NJ (CBS) -- Memorial Day weekend is a little more than a week away. Down the shore, preparations for the "unofficial start of summer" are months in the making.

At Kona Surf Company, the upcoming holiday weekend as a business owner isn't anything new for Mike Sciarra.

"I've been doing this for a lot of years. Not to age myself, but I'd say almost 50," Sciarra said with a laugh. "Every year is a little bit different. It really depends on the weather, the economy."

In the days leading up to the big weekend, Sciarra's team is busy getting merchandise ready to go out on the floor. He said planning for Memorial Day started last September.

"We quadruple our numbers from the weekend before so it's a really huge weekend. All the businesses in Wildwood, it gets them started for the season," Sciarra said.

Over on the boardwalk, 5 Mile Marketplace is also counting down the days.

"There's so much that has to go into that official start that we just have to make that big push and have that as our goalpost," owner Michelle Rutkowski said.

She added Memorial Day weekend is critical to her business's bottom line after being closed for the winter.

"One night you go to sleep and there's nobody here and it looks like this and the next morning you wake up and there's one million people here. It feels like that," Rutkowski said.

The Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority is expecting the island to go from about 10,000 people to upwards of 200,000 next weekend for the holiday.

"This is the kick-off to the season. It is when everybody comes back to greet us after their winter slumbers," Louis Belasco, executive director for the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority, said.

Preparations extend beyond businesses. Throughout the windy and cloudy Tuesday, public works crews and others are finishing new boards, readying the beach and repainting the famous beach balls in front of the Wildwood sign.


"Everybody's open. Everything's a go. The boardwalk comes alive, the sites, the smells," Belasco said.

All of that — just 10 days away.

Several events are happening over the Memorial Day weekend including:

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