Sunday, May 29, 2005

More Normal than Not

Now that Memorial Day weekend has arrived our vacation rental business is more normal than it has been for the past 8 months since Hurricane Ivan hit our shore. The area progress has been absolutely astounding although some visitors unfamiliar with the extent of the damage may be surprised to see certain reconstruction sights.

We are so fortunate to have the beautiful beaches, great attractions, outstanding restaurants and shopping on our coast. We are even more fortunate to have the unbelievable community spirit that will not accept anything less than progress. The challenges have just made the businesses and residents stronger in the determination to build back an improved community that benefits but locals and visitors. The beach is not the only aspect of the area that is undergoing renorishment. In many ways the community itself is being renewed.

The beach is a great reason to visit our resort area but by far not the only reason. The atmosphere itself with a determination to return to normal operations or really to better than normal is another reason for a gulf coast vacation. The family-oriented community is a large reason families visit and decide to stay for the rest of their life.

Other reasons include the vast array of waterfront options beyond the gulf beaches. The bays, bayous, rivers, intracoastal waterway, streams, etc. are vibrant with flora and fauna. These are the areas that the typical visitor does not take time to explore on their first or even second visit. Once they begin to venture to other water activities they are usually prompted to explore the possibilities of owning a piece of paradise.

So now that we are getting back to a sense of what is more normal than what we've lived through for 8 months, we are also prepared for our summer influx of visitors. We are also ready, willing and able to assist many of these visitors in their plans to become our neighbors.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Spring's Last Fling

Spring flies by so quickly and this year is no exception. This weekend will be the last one for vacation rentals at the spring rate, therefore our business is greater for the weekend than it has been since the week after Easter. Since we are a family-oriented beach destination our vacation rental seasons are primarily determined by school schedules. This year the local school schedule has been extended an extra week. So even though all county schools held graduations on Monday the balance of students will attend until May 26.

It's really a grand weekend to visit the coast because the weather is warm and sunny which makes the beach even more appealing. The spring rental rates are low and there are two special events planned. The 2nd Annual Orange Beach Red Snapper World Championship ends a month-long tournament on May 22nd. Plus beginning tomorrow (May 20) thru Sunday (May 22) the 2nd Annual Southern Breeze Coastal Wine Tour will be held at various venues. Both of these events have the potential for even greater growth at this wonderful "Spring Fling" time of year.

Once Memorial Day arrives all systems are go for summer peak season rental activity that will last until Labor Day. The coordination between all Meyer Real Estate Departments kicks into full gear. The Property Management operations are joined by Real Estate Sales in heightened activity since more visitors to the area means more buying prospects to accommodate.

Our major building project at the Corporate Headquarters, which will result in a 36,000 square foot office, is still under construction. Everyday now we arrive at the Corporate Office location to dozens of workers both inside and outside the new structure. Living thru the construction (adjacent to the existing building) has been challenging but the rewards will be well worth the inconveniences. We anticipated moving into our new lobby prior to the summer customer arrivals, however it appears the opening will be later in summer than we hoped. The new facilities are so beautiful and functional with a sensitivity to the preservation of the natural surroundings including mature oaks existing on the property. Our new office is already quite the "buzz" of the community and we anticipate setting the pace for a revitalization of the Gulf Shores business district where we're located.

Even though it's hard to imagine spring is nearly over with summer fast approaching, we are all excited about the prime season activities. It is comforting for operations to return to a normal pace following the unusual activities we've experienced following Hurricane Ivan.