Is the Tiki Bar really good for Solomons?

Solomons, MD - Although they missed their traditional April opening, the well-renowned Solomons Island Tiki Bar will reopen under new management on the weekend of May 17-19. However, one important question that has been raised is what economic impact will the returning establishment bring to the island moving forward. After talking with a number businesses up and down the peninsula, the answer as to whether the Tiki Bar is beneficial to local businesses is not very clear.

Some businesses cite that the Tiki Bar is a great thing for business across the island, however, all businesses surveyed mutually agreed that there are problems that come along with it. Janel Baki, Co-Owner and Event Coordinator for The Pier, thinks that the Tiki Bar reopening will be a great thing for the community.

“I think business brings business,” Baki said. “The Tiki Bar has always been there except for like two years, so I can’t see it ever having a negative impact… it’s a nostalgic thing and I think it will be a great thing for Solomons”

Likewise, Rusty Shriver, Co-Owner of The Lighthouse Restaurant and Dock Bar, is hopeful that the returning bar down the street will far exceed it’s anticipated expectations.

“You know, anyone that goes into business and takes that risk, I hope succeeds,” Shriver explained. “If they succeed, they will bring more people around, so honestly I hope they hit it out of the park.”

Additionally, employees from the the bijou bohemian boutique, Inner Equinox, stressed how increased foot traffic will help places along the island that are specifically not restaurants. However, they were also especially critical of the problems created in the past by the Tiki Bar such as noise, disorderly conduct, vehicle traffic and parking.

While, these problems were also listed off by all other businesses that spoke with, they are just as clearly received by visitors and residents alike. The President-Elect to the Solomons Business Association(SBA) and Owner of BlueShift Marketing, Vandy Young, made it clear that struggles of getting around the island during tiki-time is why people often harbor complaints about the entire production.

“People are kind of selfish,” Young elaborated. “It affects our mobility around the island and in the past there have been problems with parking. We usually can handle larger events but come time for Tiki Bar in the past, we have really struggled.”

Although most businesses all mentioned positive impacts that the Tiki Bar will bring to Solomons, not a single business down the stretch could cite significant economic fluctuations as a result of the Tiki Bar’s presence or lack thereof. The SBA President-Elect stated that businesses have actually seen a steady uptick in production throughout the 18-month period when the bar was in transition.

“In the past, the Tiki Bar has drawn people from as far as the Chicago and the west coast,” Young said. “Somehow it has always brought itself national exposure, and it really does put the island on the map. It doesn’t instantly impact the island, but that’s not to say it won’t help increase traffic even more in the long run.”

While the island has seen a fair share of business sales and turnover in recent years, including most recently the listed building lease for what used to be The Striped Rock, it is hard to pinpoint what exactly has caused these changes to the economic climate. Even though it is tough to fully encompass a description of what the Tiki Bar does to the Solomons community, it is safe to say from an economic standpoint, the consensus is more positive than negative.

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