Summer business rebounding for Greenville years after Gulf oil spill

Published: Jun. 25, 2013 at 12:28 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2013 at 12:28 AM CDT
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GREENVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Three years ago many people were glued to their TV watching a terrible situation unfold in the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill ended up spewing more than 200 million gallons of crude oil in the Gulf, ignited by an explosion that killed 11 people. The spill cost BP more than 42 billion dollars.

The spill affected mainly Louisiana and Alabama, but Florida beaches got some of the black stuff, too.

Kirsten Efirt remembers it all too well. A native of Pensacola, Florida, Efirt is passing through Alabama to visit family in Nashville. Efirt say things are much better in Pensacola.

"Yes, the beaches are cleaned up and they're now open. We've seen a big increase in traffic," Efirt explained.

And business is also much better for Michelle Sloane who runs the Bates Turkey House in Greenville. Sloane can't possibly forget what affect the spill had on the family business at the time.

"You couldn't even fill up the parking lot in the middle of July," Sloane remembered.

Now traffic is up and Sloane has even noticed tags from far away as Illinois and Ohio coming through town, many of them headed to the Gulf coast.

"As soon as school is out they're on the road," said Sloane.

Although beach traffic seems to have rebounded Greenville's mayor, Dexter McClendon, says sales tax revenues for the city are down $80,000 compared to one year ago. Still, there is confidence Greenville will more than make it up as the summer goes along especially now that the beaches are cleaned up.

"We're seeing a lot of traffic and we feel good about it," said Mayor McClendon.

Three years ago business owners like Sloane saw an ugly summer at the cash register. Today, it's back the way it used to be; busy and loving it.

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