071717_jekyll island seafood

Patrons dine at the new Jekyll Island Seafood Co. in the Beach Village on Jekyll Island. The businesses on Jekyll are reporting a strong summer season. 


Lindsey Adkison/The Brunswick News

The hum of chatter and clinking of glasses echoed through the dining space at the newly opened Jekyll Island Seafood Co. on Jekyll Island.

It was something that Tracy Bailey, manager of the business, has been waiting a long time to see.

She said the location which opened July 6, just after the rush of the busy holiday, has been going great guns since opening.

“People are really excited that we’re here. I think there are a few of them that are surprised because we had a quiet opening to give the staff time to adjust and get the bugs worked out,” Bailey said.

The new restaurant is not the only location where business is bustling. Visitors and tourists have been flocking to “Georgia’s Jewel,” throughout the summer. For June, the most recent data available saw 126,290 vehicles enter the state owned island.

While that includes both locals as well as guests, it is a higher number than has been seen in previous years. For 2016, there were 125,143 with 121,966 entries in 121,966.

The figures reflect what many of the businesses — lodgers, retailers and restauranteurs alike — have seen this summer. At Brittany’s Closet, a women’s clothing store in the Beach Village, have seen a lot of traffic.

Owner Brittney Tribuzio and manager Jamie Smith have seen a number of customers from around the country.

“Our summer business has been full of vacationers from all over the U.S., and our locals that continue to support us on a daily basis. We give our local Glynn county residents 10 percent off year around. We have customers of all ages and sizes, looking for that perfect outfit,” Tribuzio said.

“Each year we see an increase in traffic. We see a lot of people coming from the Westin and the Convention Center. It also seems like more and more people are moving here, buying vacation rentals,” Smith added.

Kevin Runner, general manager of the Westin on Jekyll Island, has also seen healthy business this summer.

“It’s been great. Actually, June is was very good over here and increased over last year ... pretty much, every month has increased. For June, we were up about 17 percent,” he said.

“For the year, we are up 13 percent over last year. So it has been a good season. We also have solid booking for the remainder of the year.”

Runner added that the Fourth provided nearly sold out bookings on multiple days.

“Some people traveled on the Fourth because they had to get back to work but in general the Friday before was almost fully booked which lasted all the way to the Fourth. It filled back up for the weekend,” he said.

Another island location seeing impressive returns — Summer Waves. Steve Sharpe, manager of the park, said a number of new features helps to draw large crowds.

“Our new Shark Tooth Cove has had a huge impact on us. Of course, we also more than tripled the size of our kiddie pool. That is good for Saturdays which is when we see the big numbers,” he said.

Like the Westin, Summer Waves is also up by double-digit percentages.

“We are up about 16 to 17 percent over last year. May was very strong and was up by 23 percent,” he said.

The park, which welcomed 166,000 guests last year, sees an average of 1,600 patrons daily.

“On the weekends, we can see the high 2,000s or low 3,000s ... of course, they don’t come all at once and we have plenty of space, 11 acres. We never run out of room,” he said.

In addition to established locations like Summer Waves, new ventures and projects are preparing to make a splash as well.

The Jekyll Ocean Club and it’s new restaurant Corsair opened Sunday, both are under the auspice of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, owned by Northview Hotel Group.

The Ocean Club will offer 42-suites, with the vast majority offering ocean views and balconies.

The first floor of the building also features the Corsair Kitchen and Bar, an eatery offering locally inspired meals and cocktails.

Breakfast and lunch are reserved exclusively for club guests. Dinner is open to the public. In addition to the Ocean Club, Northview Hotel Group also purchased the former Latitude restaurant and adjoining raw bar.

Patty Henning said the new location is planning to open as a fine dining restaurant in August.