DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Graduation weekend is upon us.
With it, thousands of people are flooding the campuses of Duke and UNC and the towns of Durham and Chapel Hill.
Businesses are looking forward to a huge weekend and the first normal one like this since 2019.
"We're thinking about the things we should be thinking about," said Shannon Healy, owner of Alley 26. "How do we serve all these people? How do we accommodate them without letting our standards slip?"
He said staffing is still a challenge, but they are where they need to be for the weekend. He said he's had to turn away people every day asking for reservations because he is booked solid.
Across the street, all 53 rooms at the Durham Hotel were booked, a majority for graduation.
Down Tobacco Road in Chapel Hill, the emotions were much the same for business owners, especially Jamil Kadoura.
"It was a really hard two and a half to three years," said Kadoura, owner of Franklin Street staple Med Deli. "It was really, really bad."
He believes staffing for this industry will always be an issue in the future and it's imperative to take care of the staff you have.
Big crowds gathered inside and outside Carolina Brewery including graduates and their families. Mother's Day is an added boost for businesses, where families like Linda Garrett and her daughters Priscilla and Shirley went out early Friday to Alley 26.
"We don't get to do this too often, so this weekend is really special," Linda said. "It puts the icing on Mother's Day Weekend."