Hardy seeing surge in tourists and sales

HARDY, AR (KAIT) - Tourism dollars add a lot to the city of Hardy's budget. This summer the town is booming and the coffers are filling at an unusual rate.

Crossing the main street in Hardy is almost dangerous this summer. Every parking spot was filled with cars from all over and it was hard to cross the street with all the traffic. But those busy streets should be painted green like...money.

Hardy has an A & P tax or advertising and promotion which means basically, every time someone buys a happy meal or spends a night the town makes money.

Carolyn Groves is the treasurer for the town of Hardy. She says the A & P income is really up this year over past years.

"It's up about 30%. Now that will probably only be our summer months that's when we realize we make our finances is in the summer months." Groves said.

The Spring River is still the main attraction for the town but business owners say a lot of their customers have spent the day on the water and head to town to shop or eat or both.

A & P money is used to promote the town, and pay for park maintenance and for youth projects such as the summer meal program and the school back-pack meal program.

At Hardy's newest restaurant the "Pig & Whistle" owner Philip Ashcroft says the word is getting out like it's supposed too and bringing in the customers.

"We've had some great customer feed back and and we've had a nice combination of locals and tourist business with us. We've had a lot of repeat customers." The restaurant offers traditional English dishes as well as American food.

Any place in Hardy that serves hot food or provides a room or cabin for the night pays the tax. That includes the gas stations. This years mild winter led to early spring tourists which meant the money started coming in March.

Groves, "Normally you didn't see this till June, so we are a couple of months ahead of ourselves."

Even though retail stores don't pay the A & P tax, sales tax from the large volume of traffic is adding money to both city and county bottom lines.

Marc Herring owns the Ozark Classic Crafts Mall on Main street. His summer is going quite well.

"We're having a great year!" Herring said excitedly. Shoppers were coming in and out of the store to look and make purchases. "We're having a great year. We are up. We are experiencing wonderful growth." he said.

Philip Ashcroft says they are looking ahead to keep the momentum going hoping to keep the local support of his restaurant strong.

"We'll do everything we can to try and attract local customers when the tourist season has passed."

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