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Local shops see boost in business as OHV riders and campers return to Oceano Dunes

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Posted at 9:25 PM, Feb 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 02:07:34-05

After almost a year of pandemic closures, the re-opening of the Oceano Dunes to off-road vehicles is bringing business back to the area.

Many Grover Beach business owners said foot traffic has increased significantly since the Oceano Dunes opened back up to overnight campers and off-highway vehicles on Friday.

Grover Station Grill owner 'Z' Zaferis said he has been able to bring employees back on this week with the uptick in business.

"[We have seen] a huge difference especially [Sunday], the last couple of days we noticed a significant increase in takeout and delivery services, food jets (that are) locally owned, and door dash," says Zaferis.

City leaders are hoping beachgoers invest their money into the local economy.

"We would love to see more people come to Grover Beach and have a cup of coffee at a local business or restaurants, they are open and available for take-out service and outside dining options," Grover Beach Mayor, Jeff Lee, said. "Overall, the opportunity to have the dunes open is an opportunity for businesses to be able to do more work and to do more business."

Red Bee Coffee on Grand Ave has also seen more foot traffic since the reopening of the dunes.

"The parking lot at the end of Grand Ave is much fuller and even just the traffic just going back and forth on Grand Ave is really busy so because of that a lot of [beachgoers] stop by," Red Bee barista Brett Corr said.

However, even after hitting a re-opening milestone, some business owners are still facing restrictions. According to State Parks, off-highway vehicle rentals are not currently allowed at the dunes.

It means people like Wayne Foster, owner of BJ's ATV Rentals, still have to turn potential customers away.

"Even right now if somebody walked in here, I couldn't rent them an ATV to go out there, because they don't have nothing to take it out in and I can't take it out there," Foster said.

Despite lingering setbacks, many community members are excited to see a return to normalcy.

"We are just super happy that we have been able to stay open and keep working," Corr said.

The City of Grover Beach and the South County Chambers of Commerce are also participating in a #BuyLocal program where if you spend $100 at a qualified Grover Beach small business, you can receive a $25 gift card back to spend on other local businesses.