Business Boomed Despite Pandemic

Anita Campbell
County Reporter
Despite the social distancing rules, thousands of people flocked to the twin lake area during the three day Memorial Day weekend.
Sterett Creek Marina owner Cathy Beyer reported a much better Memorial Day weekend than last year during the historic flood.
“Our motel rooms, campsites and boat slips were all full this weekend,” said Beyer. “This was much better than last year when we were closed due to high water.”
While business was slow during the early spring due to COVID-19, Sterett Creek has seen more business as the state government has loosened the regulations.
“I am hopeful for this summer because people are tired of being shut up in their homes and camping, boating and fishing are ways they can get out and enjoy themselves,” said Beyer.
Beyer remarked that families were getting together to spend time on the lake for the first time in several months.
“We had several cancellations in March and April because of the quarantine but business is picking up,” said Beyer.  “The people of Warsaw and the Midwest are amazing in how they are willing to help out each other.”
The Drunken Minnow located at Sterett Creek ran out of a few food items during the busy weekend.
“We were swamped and it was hard to keep up with the demand,” said Beyer.
Hilltop B-B-Q owner Todd Griffin reported a busy weekend as well.
“We are still carry-out only but we were very busy on Friday,” said Griffin.  “We are following all of the health department’s rules in order to keep our employees and our customers safe.”
On June 1, the state will release new guidelines and Hilltop may be open for customers to sit down to eat but that will probably be only half of the capacity of the building.
“We really appreciate all our regulars who have kept us going during the quarantine,” said Griffin.  “We look forward to a hopeful, busy summer.”
Hilltop located on Wildcat Drive is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 until 8 PM.
Out at Osage Bluff Marina, Jason Reynolds reported a good weekend but not as busy as a normal Memorial Day weekend usually is.
“The weather was great and everyone reported great fishing, but we didn’t have the crowd we usually have on Memorial Day weekend,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds is planning a big 4th of July fireworks display on July 3 with a rain date of July 4.  He said he had applied for permission to hold the event so he is hopeful.
As far as supplies go, Reynolds said he had the hardest time getting all the fishing tackle that he usually stocks in the Osage Bluff store.
All the boat slips at Osage Bluff are currently rented but there is a waiting list for customers looking for a seasonal slip.
The Osage Bluff Restaurant is open for business; however, Reynolds said it was as busy as usual over the weekend.
“People seemed to be bringing their food and having cookouts over the weekend,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds is hopeful for a great summer.
“I think more people will be vacationing close to home which will be good for us here on Truman Lake,” Reynolds concluded.
Truman State Park Marina owner Lisa Gladson reported a good weekend.
“It was better than last year when we were shuttling people to their boat slips,” said Gladson.  Because of the high water condition last spring, Gladson and her staff ran shuttles for 76 days.
“This year was much better and everyone seemed to be having a great time,” said Gladson.
Truman State Park Marina now has a bar and grill named Sunsetters offering wings, pizza and beverages.
The Harry S. Truman Visitor’s Center was closed over the Memorial Day weekend and will remain so indefinitely according to Erin Cordrey.
“We will be opening the Corps campgrounds and Bledsoe Ferry below the dam on June 2,” said Cordrey.
Shawnee Bend beach will be closed until the new bathroom facilities are built.
Osage Mini Mart owner Beth Drake reported a slow Memorial Day weekend.
“We sold 460,000 minnows over the weekend but I think the weather forecast kept some people at home,” said Drake.
“Business was great in April during snagging season,” said Drake.  “I think this will be a good summer for the
Truman Lake area because people are tired of being inside and are eager to find an activity close to home.”
Drake also thinks work on the bridge has slowed down tourist traffic.
“It had to be done, but it is more difficult to get to this side of town,” Drake said.
Drake said that she had a difficult time keeping enough soda in the store.
While there were many visitors to the Truman Lake area,  the crowds were much larger on the Lake of the Ozarks at Osage Beach. Leaders in Kansas City and St. Louis are urging people who partied close together at Lake of the Ozarks over the Memorial Day weekend to self-quarantine for two weeks, amid fears that the gatherings documented in social media postings will lead to a resurgence of the coronavirus.
Big crowds were reported at swimming pools, bars and restaurants at the popular central Missouri lake that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Postings showed people without masks partying and swimming together in close proximity, seemingly ignoring guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and from the state, to keep at least 6 feet apart.