It may be April, but for businesses surrounding Fort Drum it feels a lot like waking up on Christmas morning to a bundle of unexpected presents.
The redeployment of the 10th Mountain Division has created a ripple effect in sales for a handful of businesses along Route 11 north and the surrounding area, managers say. Bradleys Military Surplus, off Route 11 in Evans Mills, started seeing a substantial surge in sales at the end of March from returning military personnel. The stores 10 part-time employees who provide home-based sale services are almost twice as busy as they normally are, manager Michael J. Seymour said.
Weve been selling a lot more uniforms, insignia and physical training gear to meet the demand, Mr. Seymour said, adding that the store has had to increase its inventory. And every day the traffic is getting higher.
Although the store is the most busy during periods of deployment, its never had the kind of steady stream of business its had during the past three months, he said.
Its better than its ever been before, and I think this shows that the more soldiers there are, the higher our everyday business is, Mr. Seymour said.
Youth programs at the Carthage YMCA, 250 State St., have seen a substantial boost this spring spurred by the redeployment of troops, said Rebecca L. Reed, outreach branch director. Because of its proximity to Fort Drum, she said, the fitness facility in Carthage gets more traffic from military families than locations in Watertown.
Weve seen an overall uptick in family participation here this spring, Mrs. Reed said. What were seeing is military families coming more as a unit to watch their children play sports and participate in exercise programs.
To prepare for the influx of military families, the fitness center also added two staff positions for its youth sports programs, expanded its offering of exercise classes for adults and added hours on Saturdays for games.
And while participation in youth programs is now at levels similar to last years, numbers are expected to climb throughout the spring and summer as families continue to become integrated into the community, Mrs. Reed said. She predicted that enrollment in all programs will be up by about 10 to 15 percent this summer, driven by increased participation by military families.
Weve seen an increase in programs, but not as much as we thought we would yet, she said. I think were just now starting to the uptick and increase in participation. Based on the steady increase were seeing now, I think (the trend) will continue to echo throughout the summer months, and we plan to hire more staff to supplement our programs.
Located near the entrance to Fort Drum off Route 11 in Evans Mills, Papa Johns Pizza also has reaped the benefits from the heavy doses of returning troops. Shift Supervisor Andrew J. Aviste said six new employees were hired in December to accommodate the wave in demand.
Weve definitely been getting good business here this spring, he said, adding about 80 percent of the shops business comes from Fort Drum. Some nights we barely have enough people on staff to meet the demand, and we get a lot of orders from military families who are still staying in hotels and havent found houses yet.