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Eclipse tourism expected to bring over $1B to Texas' economy

Eclipse tourism expected to bring over $1B to Texas' economy
Eclipse tourism expected to bring over $1B to Texas' economy 02:40

RED OAK — Less than two weeks from now, more than a million people are expected to visit Texas to witness the total solar eclipse.

They're expected to infuse more than $1 billion into our economy while they're here.

In Red Oak, they're expecting anything but a normal Monday.

The solar eclipse will cast darkness over the city of Red Oak for approximately 4 minutes and 13 seconds on April 8. Phillip Hughes and his sister, Michelle Bezanilla, are strategizing how to make sure their breakfast and lunch spot, Gravy, is ready.

"We've kind of talked about abbreviating our menu a little bit," said Michelle Bezanilla, who co-owns the restaurant Gravy. "I'm bringing in my kids, they're high school students, to help us out with the overflow of guests that might be stopping by."

The estimated economic impact of the solar eclipse in total expenditures is nearly $1.4 billion in the state of Texas. Nearly $500 million in the Dallas/Plano/Irving area, and more than $13 million in Ellis County, where Red Oak is located. The Red Oak Area Chamber of Commerce's President and CEO, Clint Woodward, says they're expecting 8 to 10 times their normal revenue.

"It's informing our businesses that this is such a huge, huge event for our community because we are in such a line of the eclipse," said Woodward.

And, he says, it won't just be a Monday event.

"This is going to be an event all the way through the weekend, even starting as early as Friday," Woodward added.

The key, he says, is preparation. 

That means bolstering staffing, making additional hires, and ensuring there's plenty of inventory. He says they're also encouraging residents to get groceries and gas ahead of time. 

At Gravy, the owners say they want the event to be fun while also giving them an introduction to new and future customers, perhaps with a side of an eclipse sandwich.

"Everyone's going to stop what they're doing, guests included, and they'll all be outside," said Phillip Hughes, the co-owner of Gravy. "I just want to celebrate it."

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