MOREHEAD CITY, CARTERET COUNTY -

Big rock landing is empty and the streets are a little less crowded now, but area business owners said they saw a big boost in sales this week.

Across from the weigh station, owner of Happy Cow Ice Cream & Coffee Taylor McCullen said she kept busy.

"Business exploded. I ran out of a bunch of flavors," McCullen said.

McCullen said they've only been around for two years but always look forward to this week.

"Probably double, maybe even triple compared to other weeks in sales," McCullen said.

Not only does Big Rock help boost sales at stores, restaurants and hotels but officials said it's also one of the biggest weeks of the year for the boating industry.

Morehead City Yacht Basin's Dockmaster Dwayne Sandbo said they saw an increase in boat sales, slips, and fuel this year.

"This one week is a big percentage of our overall fuel sales," Sandbo said.

When Big Rock first started 56 years ago the Morehead City Yacht Basin was the main docking facility, according to Sandbo. He said if the tournament were ever to go, it'd be a big loss for the local economy.

"The industry as a whole has seen a decline in large tournaments over the last two years. This year Big Rock has actually shown an increase in participants," Sandbo said.

He said it gets busy, but this year their dock was completely full. Sandbo said the tournament is responsible for about 60 percent of their business.

The tournament's Media Director Bruce Paul said money spent during the week-long tournament rolls over an average of seven times into the community.