Cash drawers are popping and the dollars are dropping as thousands of Wakarusa Festival attendees head for the shops to buy everything from booze to bug spray, incense and "hippie clothing."
"Bottled water takes it all. Bottled water and tents. Then lawn chairs, then sunscreen, then bug spray. Tiki torches, too," said Bob Catlin, co-manager of Wal-Mart, 3300 Iowa.
Many businesses report a tremendous swell in sales over the past two days.
Stores benefiting most are liquor stores, grocery stores and big-box stores like Wal-Mart and Target.
Catlin said Wal-Mart prepared for the festival weekend by stocking extra in-demand items.
He also said Wal-Mart was "hammered" Wednesday and Thursday by festivalgoers buying camping supplies.
Area liquor stores are experiencing a similar sales boom.
Brian Fadden, owner of Parkway Wine & Spirits, 3514 Clinton Parkway, said his business has increased at least 60 percent. That's partly from the store's advertised title as the "official liquor store for Wakarusa," Fadden said.
More information on Wakarusa Fest '06
He paid $750 for a full-page ad in a promotional booklet handed out by festival promoters. The booklet steers out-of-town visitors to local businesses such as grocery stores and of course, Parkway Wine & Spirits, the only liquor store listed. But the store location doesn't hurt, either.
"I'm by the Hy-Vee. People are stocking up with food and we're on their way out there," he said.
Linda's Liquor, 1540 Wakarusa Drive, is also close to the festival grounds.
Owner Linda Vantuyl couldn't pin a number on how much sales have gone up, but she's sure the customers are in town for Wakarusa.
"They wear different types of clothes, so you know a lot of 'em when they come in. And it's fun seeing the tags come in from all over," she said.
Bob Sanner, of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, said the festival's economic benefits for Lawrence businesses are increasingly apparent.
"They're certainly making their presence known," he said, noting that Wakarusa-related sales have steadily increased since the festival's first year in 2004.
But not all businesses have seen gains.
Managers at three local fast food restaurants all said their sales have remained steady. And at Creation Station, 726 Mass., clerk Stephanie Staves said she hadn't noticed an increase in sales at all.
At Third Planet Imports, 846 Mass., buyer Kristen Ferrel said the shop, which sells incense, hippie-style clothing and body jewelry - merchandise that attracts customers likely to attend the Wakarusa Festival - hadn't seen increased store traffic.
Ferrel said the lack of increased walk-in customers at the store might be because most festivalgoers stay in the West Lawrence area for the weekend. But it also might be because Third Planet has a booth at the festival.
The booth, Ferrel said, is doing well selling political T-shirts, incense and "hippie clothes." On Thursday, workers at the store on Massachusetts Street had to restock the booth because it sold out of multiple items.
Hy-Vee, 3504 Clinton Parkway, also has a booth at Wakarusa. Manager John Olson calls it "the general store."
It stocks drinks, snacks, bug spray, toilet paper and other items so campers don't have to leave the festival grounds.
Olson said that the Hy-Vee on Clinton Parkway has seen sales increase at least 5 percent to 8 percent in the past two days. But that's no surprise, he said.
"You got 15,000 people," Olson said. "You can't hardly help but see some lift."
Wakarusa Festival 2006
More about the Wakarusa Festival
- 6News video: Clean-up crews picking up after weekend festival (06-12-06)
- 6News video: Wakarusa Festival arrests scheduled to appear Friday (06-12-06)
- 6News video: Wakarusa festival winds down (06-11-06)
- 6News video: Heat beats down on Wakarusa (06-09-06)
- 6News video: Businesses benefiting from festival (06-09-06)
- 6News video: Law enforcement keeping eye on illegal substances (06-09-06)
- 6News video: Wakarusa swings into gear (06-08-06)
- 6News video: Traffic snarls grip festival (06-08-06)
- 6News video: Sweep yields drug arrests (06-08-06)
- 6News video: Apartment complex blocked by traffic (06-08-06)
- 6News video: Checklanes check out festival-goers (06-07-06)
- 6News video: Staff, volunteers, vendors prepare for flood of visitors (06-07-06)
- Wakarusa inspections infuriate the ACLU (06-13-06)
- Police activity, arrests increase at Wakarusa (06-13-06)
- Police presence dampened fest, campers say (06-12-06)
- Wakarusa hits high note (06-11-06)
- Norway's Hurra Torpedo plays everything but the kitchen sink (06-11-06)
- Concert creates good vibes for area businesses (06-10-06)
- Logistical problems strike sour note for some (06-10-06)
- Medical personnel see variety of ailments (06-10-06)
- More than Lip service (06-10-06)
- Lawrence drummer adjusts to gig with the Lips (06-10-06)
- Sitar player carves out own La La land in music industry (06-10-06)
- Festival in full gear (06-09-06)
- Delay doesn't dampen spirits (06-09-06)
- Medical tent may curb trips to LMH (06-09-06)
- Youngsters walk through traffic to tae kwon do (06-09-06)
- Women of Wakarusa (06-09-06)
- The Mutaytor brings circus atmosphere to outdoor fest (06-09-06)
- Traffic problems arise at Wakarusa fest (06-08-06)
- Highway patrol drug check greets fans on way to fest (06-08-06)
- State rains on Wakarusa parade (06-08-06)
- Scattered by Hurricane Katrina, band remains intact (06-08-06)
- Walkin' Wakarusa (06-08-06)
- Police checkpoint near Wakarusa causing a stir (06-07-06)
- Partiers take note: Police presence at Wakarusa Fest to double this year (05-04-06)
- Wakarusa Festival 2006 - Day 4
- Wakarusa Festival 2006 - Day 3
- Wakarusa Festival 2006 - Day 2
- Wakarusa Festival 2006 - Day 1
- Wakarausa Festival 2006 - Pre-Fest