Madras businesses bracing for big eclipse crowds

Stores, restaurants plan ahead for massive influx

Madras businesses prep for eclipse

MADRAS, Ore. - All eyes will be on the sky late this summer in Madras for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, as the community is in the path of totality. The number of people in the city is expected to skyrocket from about 6,500 to more than 45,000. Even though it’s still months away, businesses are preparing.

“We figured that if we got 10 percent of (the visitors expected), it would be an extra 400 people a day," Troy Boyd, the owner of Great Earth Natural Foods, said Wednesday. “That’s way over what we normally have. So, in order to have enough product in the store, we have to start ordering now.” 

Boyd is increasing each order a little until the big day. She wants to avoid one massive bill and an overwhelming delivery.

Down the street at Geno’s Italian Grill, owner Debbie Burke is also making plans for her restaurant.

“We’re going to order a lot more food than normal," she said. "We’ll be having several deliveries throughout the week -- throughout the day probably. We’ll be having a refrigerated truck outside so we can have plenty of food on hand."

The sit-down restaurant will change to counter service during peak hours to accommodate the masses. Burke said adding to the current staff of nine is not an option.

“They have to know our menu. They have to know what we offer. They have to know what’s in it," Burke said. "So you can’t just, the week before, hire a bunch of people and expect them to do the job.” 

Business owners said they are not sure what to expect.

“It’s going to be interesting," Boyd said. "I don’t know if I’m really excited, because it’s kind of a crap shoot. It will be definitely unique.” 

They will have to wait and see what happens when thousands of sky-gazers descend on the city this August.

“I’m not worried about it," Burke said. "A person can only do so much, and you do your best, and you hope it comes out right.” 

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