Madras businesses preparing for increase in tourists due to ecli - KPTV - FOX 12

Total Solar Eclipse

Madras businesses preparing for increase in tourists due to eclipse

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MADRAS, OR (KPTV) -

With all eyes on Madras in the days leading up to the solar eclipse, business owners in the heart of downtown are bracing for a rush of tourists unlike any they've ever seen.

"There's nothing we can do, we just got to hold on tight and ride it out for as long as we can," said Charlie's OK Barber Shop owner Nick Bowlby.

Bowlby recently opened up a tavern in the vacant lot next to his shop in anticipation of the eclipse and the potential for an increase in sales.

"It is going to be insanity here in Madras, but I'm excited honestly, it's fun to see everyone come to town," said Bowlby.

Many businesses in town are now working to look their best for the record number of visitors set to move through their city over the course of four days.

The owners of Wild Bleu tell FOX 12 they worked the Madras Redevelopment Commission to expand and remodel their business in time for the solar eclipse.

"We applied for a grant and we got a 50/50 loan and grant, it was phenomenal," said co-owner Rebecca Keegan. "We wanted to be able to do something because we're in the nucleus of town, so we wanted to have a place for people to gather."

With those funds the owners remodeled the inside of their shop and built a brand-new outdoor space for visitors to hang out, make crafts, eat good food and play games. Space they hope locals will use after the eclipse has come and gone.

"We hope that people here get great service and have a great experience," Keegan added.

Across the street, is a brand-new boutique called The White Buffalo. Owner Angie Ludi opened up shop months ago knowing the eclipse was on the horizon.

"It's just been a great opportunity to start a business to know that this was coming," said Ludi. "It's been exciting to try to plan for something like this. It feels like you're planning for a wedding, but like a really big wedding."

Ludi is now stocking up on eclipse t-shirts, family-made eclipse jewelry, bumper stickers, glow in the dark mugs and laser engraved eclipse rocks designed by local vets.

"Nobody can really prepare for something of this magnitude, you just kind of do the best you can and hope for the best, but we're having fun and I think that's the most important part," Ludi added.

Some businesses are extending their hours and other restaurants are altering their menus, all to cater to tourists.

"20 years from now we can see those bumper stickers going down the road and say, 'hey, we survived that,'" laughed Ludi.

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