Each year, Hog Happenin’ brings numerous barbeque and motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country to Lincolnton. With the two-day event occupying multiple downtown roads, Main Street and Court Square businesses are faced with the dilemma of whether it is profitable for their business to remain open during the festivities.
While a few businesses closed their doors early on June 6, the first day of the event, many embraced the opportunity to increase sales and promote business visibility.
According to Hog Happenin’ rookie and Game Swap owner Mike Payne, his store doubled its typical weekend profits by extending its hours during the event.
“On Friday, we stayed open until almost 11 p.m.,” Payne said.
Typically, the store closes at 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
“We had a lot of walk-in business,” he said. “We were pretty well packed for both days. Business was better than expected. We had heard some of the (Hog Happenin’) stories, but it actually exceeded our expectations as far as turnout and business.
“It was a great day, and great sales for our retro and new stuff… I recommend that any business in the area should stay open, because it’s not just a Lincolnton thing — this event brings lots of people outside of Lincolnton to our city,” he said.
Cacki-Jack’s Consignment owner Mandy Shelton also chose to extend her store’s hours. According to Shelton, the store stayed open four extra hours on Friday and two extra hours on Saturday.
“We had great business during Hog Happenin’,” Shelton said. “It was our first one, and I think we did pretty well. Cacki-Jack’s is always willing to stay open if there’s an event going on downtown.”
Other businesses, such as Court Street Grille, were not as fortunate. While the restaurant extended its normal Friday hours from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. to 10 a.m.-1:30 a.m., Court Street Grille found sales to be lower than average.
“We get more business on a normal Friday or Saturday than we do during Hog Happenin’,” Court Street Grille Manager Jeremy Upton said. “We made approximately $4,000 during the event Saturday, and we normally earn about $6,000. We sold more beer than anything else.”
Having resided in the Court Square for more than a decade now, the restaurants is a long-time veteran of Lincolnton’s barbeque and motorcycle tradition.
“We’ve been here for 11 years, and Hog Happenin’ has never been a big thing for us,” Upton said.
Nevertheless, Upton ensured that the restaurant will continue to remain open during future Hog Happenin’ events.
“We’ll always stay open for the community,” he said.
Hi-Lites manager Michelle Bellamy found Hog Happenin’ did little to increase the clothing store’s sales.
“It hurt business a little on Friday afternoon because of the road blockades, but I understand it was necessary,” she said.
Bellamy reported the while the store had average profits last Saturday, staying open during the event may have opened the door to new shoppers.
“The past three years, sales haven’t been great (during Hog Happenin’),” she said. “While they might not have shopped that day, there’s a better chance now that they could come back at a later date.”
Nevertheless, Bellamy ensured that Hi-Lites will remain open during future Hog Happenin’ events.
“We’re always willing to stay open if there’s an event,” she said.