COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Businesses in Columbus are preparing for spring break tourists headed to the Chattahoochee River. For two downtown operators, this means facing two very different challenges.
Whitewater Express had to close its doors during spring break last year due to the pandemic. Whitewater rafting, kayaking lessons and ziplining all came to a halt when COVID-19 hit.
This year, they are hoping to make up for lost revenue as the warmer weather brings more people outside.
“The ideal scenario is that we get as many people to come whitewater rafting as we can,” said Daniell Gilbert, manager of Whitewater Express. “We’ve been working hard to reach out to all of our raft guides to get everybody ready and get the season started a little earlier than we normally do this year.”
For another business, Ride on Bikes, the pandemic meant a surge in business as gyms closed and locals needed a socially distanced way to stay active. Co-owner Jason McKenzie hopes this momentum continues through the spring and summer months.
“This February is our best February by far of our entire career here,” McKenzie said. “Today has been insane. It’s all we can do to keep up.”
McKenzie also thinks there will be plenty of Columbusites planning to “staycation” during this spring break, as the pandemic is still a concern for families thinking about travel. He hopes locals will consider supporting local businesses for their spring break adventures.