CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- It's official. Summer ended late last night. Businesses that rely so much on tourism based on sun and surf now have to figure out how to survive in the fall.
In Carolina Beach Britt's Donuts is closed during the week. It will be open this weekend, but it's the last time they'll be open until the winter is over. It's the same story for many other businesses here on Carolina Beach, which this time of year looks like a ghost town.
"The places do have tasty food, but I'm just sorry they're not open," Stephen Wyant of Wilmington said.
Phyllis Johnson is vacationing on Carolina Beach from Raleigh. She says there's nothing to do.
"They ruined the beach, they did," Johnson said. "It makes me sick. Everything is closed. They have torn down several of the good restaurants that were on the boardwalk. They've closed all of the clubs up. And there's just not a lot to do down here anymore."
One restaurant that is still open five days a week is Blackhorn. Owner Jeff Cousler says football and good specials in the fall keep them in business.
"We try to run a lot of good drink specials. Thursday we're doing half price bar for the locals. They really love that. They come in, it brings in a good crowd," Cousler said. "We have some live music Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays."
To the north in Pender County, businesses are going through the same drag. Wings in Surf City thrives off tourism in the summer. Now the staff is pretty bored. After Labor Day, everything goes on sale.
"What we do is just make things buy one get one free, reduce things drastically and just hopefully move some merchandise before the winter starts," manager Derek Carter said. He said the trick is making the store look full in the fall when they don't get any new merchandise in.
Some restaurants and stores on Carolina Beach are still open, but have limited hours. The big fireworks shows that light up Thursday nights over Pleasure Island during the summer are also done for the year.