After experiencing slowdowns in sales from COVID-19 restrictions, local businesses are experiencing record sales of Mardi Gras items.
Craig Spadoni, the owner of Beads Galore and More and Bead Busters and Float Rentals, said that customers are no longer concerned about COVID-19 and are ready to celebrate Mardi Gras.
Spadoni said that after most restrictions were lifted in 2022, he saw a major increase in sales when compared to previous years.
“Last year, sales went through the roof,” Spadoni said. “People were ecstatic that we were having Mardi Gras.”
This year, Spadoni is reporting record sales. He said that he can report much higher sales this year than he could at the same time in 2022 and is selling out of stock.
Spadoni said that he noticed people were starting to prepare for Mardi Gras and buy related items in the fall, which is not typical. Customers are looking forward to celebrating.
“People are not even thinking about COVID,” Spadoni said. “I never thought that this was going to happen again.”
Eli Tate, the owner of Gambino’s Bakery, is experiencing similar patterns in the sale of king cakes.
After a noticeable shift in king cake sales over the course of the pandemic, things are finally starting to return to normal.
Tate said that during the height of the pandemic in 2021, Mardi Gras gave people something to look forward to. Although large gatherings and parades were not occurring, people continued to buy king cakes.
“Although sales for the year were down, when it came to Mardi Gras, our sales of our king cakes were actually up,” Tate said. “I think a lot of it had to do with people reaching and grasping for something to celebrate.”
Tate said that in 2021, they did not have corporate sales representatives come in to buy king cakes. Typically, sales representatives would come in, purchase a king cake and bring it to customers, but that halted with a majority of people working from home. He said that sales to individuals rose as a result.
“We actually saw an increase in sales during the Mardi Gras season the year after COVID, and then each year subsequently we have seen an increase in sales,” Tate said.
For the first time since the pandemic, Tate said that he can report an increase in sales to customers from other states. Prior to the pandemic, tourists would often come to Acadiana to celebrate Mardi Gras and purchase a king cake, but those occurrences happened infrequently over the last few years.
This year, sales to out-of-state visitors are back to normal, and people are excited to travel with king cakes and to send them to others in different places across the country.
Customers this year are excited about Mardi Gras, and the heightened sales businesses are experiencing reflects that.