Joplin jump in spending during first quarter

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JOPLIN, Mo. — The city of Joplin sees a jump in spending trends, including a double digit increase in the restaurant business.

What’s the impact?

It’s significant.

The restaurant industry is seeing a double digit increase in spending in the first quarter.

It’s good news for a business that’s seen it’s ups and downs.

Mark Callihan, Joplin Diner, said, “The breakfast sampler platter, it’s just my default meal.”

Joplin Diner Mark Callihan knows he can count on a good meal at Joplin Cafe.

And by eating out, it just makes life easier.

“There’s no dirty dishes when you go home, that’s a plus.”

Callihan is one of the countless diners pushing numbers up at Joplin restaurants.

A new analysis of sales tax spending shows business at top restaurants is up more than 20% in the first quarter of Joplin’s fiscal year.

The boost doesn’t come as a surprise to Andrea Johnson with Joplin Cafe, who says business is strong.

Andrea Johnson, Joplin Cafe, said, “Well you can always tell when you drive by – the parking lot is always full.”

The uptick is just the latest in a series of fluctuations, with restaurant numbers flipping up or down three times in the last five years.

Johnson points out the business isn’t immune to a change in the season.

“You know around summertime when people are out at the lake, maybe something like that we might see a little bit down at that time Christmas is always hectic because everyone’s out shopping you know. So yeah, we do have some times like that.”

But those cooking meals at home are also pushing up numbers – there’s a 29% increase in top grocery sales in the first quarter.

Other categories seeing an increase include car sales, discount stores and general retail.

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