Gas Prices Hurt Lake Business
According to business owners, the Lake of the Ozarks isn't as busy as it used to be this time of the year.
"I'm hoping the summer will pick up," Shoreland Motel co-owner Debbie Meritt said, adding that gas prices are keeping many vacationers away from the lake. "The biggest thing that we're seeing is our people are only able to come once a year instead of three times a year like they would typically do."
Meritt said guests tend to mention gas when staying at the Shoreland.
"I've noticed, even today, somebody say that we're even higher than St. Louis," Meritt explained.
Gas in St. Louis is almost ten cents cheaper Wednesday than at the lake. Lake goers will have to decide whether or not to pay the cost of an Ozark vacation.
Meritt believes the Shoreland Motel has lost a lot of its out of state business because filling up with gas has become too expensive. The Shoreland Motel is not the only business worried about guests. The Lodge of Four Seasons is offering a $50 gas credit to anyone staying two nights at the resort.
"We became concerned because we had read many articles in the tourist industry and the trade journals that this might prohibit some individuals from taking their normal vacations or even long weekends because of the rise in price of gasoline," David Griffin, Lodge of Four Seasons Manager, said.
At the Four Seasons Marina, controller Carl Clark said it's too early to tell whether gas prices will affect boating, but notes that traveling by water is different than land.
"I don't think someone is going to invest money in a boat and let it sit there," Clark said, "It's a recreational craft and people expect to pay more for the gas."
Clark said that boaters are less inclined to shop for low gas prices because waterside filling stations are too far apart. Gas sold on the lake is also generally 30 cents more than on land.
Mike Erickson is an employee of Pointe Oasis, a marina across the lake from the Four Seasons. He has seen fewer boats filling their tanks than last year, and said that personal watercraft rentals are also down.
"I don't even take mine out that much," Erickson said. "Fifty dollars doesn't even fill the tank. It's pretty depressing."
Gas at Pointe Oasis Marina is $3.55 a gallon, while at the Four Seasons Marina, it's $3.85.