Even with the economy on the rebound, several local businesses met or even surpassed their expectations for the Fourth of July weekend. A handful chose the no-frills approach, opting not to launch any special promotions or undertake any unusual preparations.
Grocery chain Ralphs trumpeted the typical barbecue and picnic staples, amply stocking its shelves with steaks, hotdogs, chips, buns and beer.
"Business was very good over the weekend and we surpassed last year's sales," said Paul Viscaino, store director.
The Regency Agoura Theatres banked on the June 30 opening of "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" and was not disappointed. The vampire romance series reportedly grossed $82.5 millions nationwide over the three-day weekend.
"We got the business we expected and achieved our sales target. 'Twilight' was the most watched film in our theatres," a Regency spokesman explained.
Over at The Canyon Club, the presentation of "The Rising and Hollywood U2," a Bruce Springsteen and U2 tribute performance, was a smash hit on Friday, July 2, according to box office manager Jessie Combs.
"This year was a big improvement from last year. We were packed for dinner and most of our guests stayed for the show," Combs said. "We had an interesting blend of young and old, locals and out-of-towners, just as we had hoped for."
"Busy, but smooth," said Air Force Limos and Town Cars manager Tammy Gale of her company's business over the weekend. Their entire fleet was rented out, Gale said.
Ice cream chain Baskin Robbins thought revenues would be soaring, but the cooler weather probably made a difference, according to a store representative. America's Birthday Cake, July's flavor of the month, was a top-seller, along with ice cream cakes, smoothies, and shakes.
Two national chains, the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) and Homewood Suites by Hilton, were satisfied with the weekend's over-all outcome, but concede that last year's was better.
"We didn't have our regular Sunday breakfast crowd," said Tom Hawks, IHOP general manager. "I think more people were on the road this year. That's why it was a little slower than usual."
Even with two wedding parties, Homewood Suites by Hilton's occupancy rate hovered between 85 and 90 percent from July 2 to the fourth. The extended stay hotel's target was an occupancy rate of 90 to 100 percent.
One of the few businesses open the day after the Fourth of July, the new 75-seater Sip Malibu Wine Bar rebounded from the holiday with brisk business from noon until 8 p.m.
"We served a good mix of locals, as well as out-of-town guests, who came for the food and the wine tasting," said Andrew Wells, general manager. "I'm pleased with how we did for our first Fourth of July."