Late start for businesses based around the Current River

Van Buren, MO making comeback after slow start to season

VAN BUREN, MO (KFVS) - A small town, built around many scenic waterways, is trying to make a comeback after a rough start to its money making season.

Usually Memorial Day is the kick off to the tourist season for Van Buren, but it started out rough, with high water levels causing the Current River to close.

The delayed start to the season is now leaving business owners pressed for time.

"Fourth of July will be the start to the year so, we've lost 5 weeks right here at the beginning," the owner of Current River Camp Ground, Mike May, said. "And honestly, when schools and colleges start, our business is over. So, we actually have five weeks left of this year, and we haven't even gotten started yet,"

For 13 years May said he has never been hit this hard.

"The last two years have honestly been the worst years that we've had since we opened the place," May said. "It doesn't just impact us, it impacts everybody, the grocery stores, all the grocery stores here, we all depend on the tourists and the tourism season."

"If people aren't floating, they're not here using motel rooms, they're not eating in our resturants, not buying gas," Owner of the Landing Tom Bedell said.

He said the numbers show in the payroll for his employees.

"Our payroll goes from $110 on the weekend to about $10 so there's a lot of people basically out of work."

The Van Buren City Collector Danielle Robertson said the past two years have been rough.

"[It] gives the town the means to function during the winter time, our town is very small."

The Lower Current District Ranger Lindel Gregory with the National Park Service said he is hopeful the rest of the season will be clear for floaters.

"We just ask everyone to be patient when the huge crowds do get here, and take your time and be careful."

Business owners hope that the July 4, 2016 will kick off a good start to their favorite time of year.

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