Predicting totality was easy -- crowds, not so much

Madras businesses say they saw a late rush

Crowds do arrive just a little late

MADRAS, Ore. - The Great American Eclipse is behind us, and as the crowds leave and Madras returns to normal, many are saying it wasn’t as crazy as they expected.

“It was amazing, amazing. I thought it would be chaotic, but it wasn’t at all,” Baryl Knaugh said Tuesday.

It took awhile for the crowds to hit.

“We were actually expecting people to arrive Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. But we didn’t really see anybody until Sunday,” said Debbie Burke, owner of Geno’s Italian Grill.

One theory is that most people came to their campsites prepared.

“A lot of people brought their own food and cooked their own food,” said Sara Vollmer, a Solarfest volunteer.

Businesses that stocked up well in advance told NewsChannel 21 they were worried.

“We were very concerned. We ordered in a lot, a lot of produce especially,” Rhonda Bourgo, owner of Grocery Outlet, said.

She had to rework her deliveries because of it.

“We were scheduled to have a load of produce every day for four days. So we were able to stop those from coming in,” she said.

It was a common theme around town.

“I did overbuy, yes,” said Debbie Burke, owner of Geno’s Italian Grill.

But it wasn’t a total bust. Burke said things started picking up Saturday, and by Sunday it was as busy as expected.

“It got crazy,” she said.

Business also picked up for Bourgo. “We sold through the beer. Wine was a big seller, like I said. Oregon wines, we sold through all of those,” she said.

Burke said Sunday and Monday were the busiest days she’s seen since she opened 15 years ago. “We were very busy all day long, from the time we opened to the time we closed,” she said.

Sales might not have reached expectations, but they were still up.

“It wasn’t as much business as we thought, but still it was better than a normal week,” Bourgo said.

The Air Show of the Cascades and Labor Day are around the corner, which could also help businesses unload some of the excess. 

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