MARIETTA - A handful of area proms are slated for this weekend and area businesses are already feeling the effects.
The steady stream of tuxedo fittings at the Workingman's Store in Marietta has kept owner David Schramm and his employees constantly busy, he said.
"Prom is, for us, at least half of our formal wear rentals for the entire year, so it's a big deal," said Schramm.
The prom tuxedo season stretches from early March until late May, but Wednesday was probably the store's busiest tuxedo rental day of the year.
"It's made it a little hectic this year," he said.
To handle the crunch, Schramm has a select group of well-trained employees that handle the tuxedo fittings.
Generally the cut-off date for renting a tuxedo is the Tuesday before prom, but Schramm noted that the store has a few extra tuxedos on hand for the last minute renters.
Though area restaurants will not feel the full impact of prom until Saturday, those at Da Vinci's Italian Restaurant in Williamstown can already tell it is going to be a doozy, said Manager Chris Bender.
"We've already had proms for the past two weekends and last weekend we were absolutely crushed. I mean it was great, but it was busy," said Bender.
The restaurant tackles the events like other big holidays, such as Mother's Day and New Year's Eve; however, they do try to make sure they have plenty of non-alcoholic drink options available to prom-goers.
"It's a big night and they like to maybe have something special so we have sparkling juice or non-alcoholic drinks with the little umbrella," she said.
Prom also generates business in a less direct way, noted Bender.
"Just our regular everyday customers like to come out on prom night to see the kids all dressed up in their fancy attire," she said.
The restaurant takes reservations for parties of eight or more and already has several for this weekend. In addition, they will be catering a prom dinner for a group of high school students that wanted to eat at home, she said.
Marietta business owner Cheryl Lang plans on burning the midnight oil Friday night in preparation for the big day as she and the staff at Front Street's A Unique Flower & Gift Shop finish whipping up a frenzy of corsages and boutineers for Saturday.
"I would say this year's prom season, we're probably doing double what we've normally done," said Lang.
In addition, students are mixing it up more this year, choosing decorative bracelets for their corsages and decking them out with bling and other accents, said Lang.
Though prom is not the shop's busiest time of year, it is definitely a nice addition, she added.
"I greatly appreciate people coming to us and entrusting us with this special night," she said.
Since opening in August, this will be the first prom season for Beverly restaurant The Cornerstone Inn.
Though those at the restaurant have not made big plans for this year's proms, they hope to spread the word for next year's event, said Carolyn Plummer, who co-owns the business with brother Daniel Schaad.
"I would love to cater to it. I think prom students would really like our atmosphere. We've got a really lovely room with a piano and a way to lower the lighting," said Plummer.
The business has already hosted several wedding rehearsal dinners, so prom seems like a natural evolution, she said.
"Definitely next year I want to reach out to the schools and do something," she said.