Soulard resident finds new way to make money from Mardi Gras - KMOV.com

Soulard resident finds new way to make money from Mardi Gras

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Spectators enjoy the 2015 Mardi Gras Parade. (Credit: Zach Dalin/KMOV) Spectators enjoy the 2015 Mardi Gras Parade. (Credit: Zach Dalin/KMOV)
SOUTH ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -

Local restaurants and bars in Soulard have been preparing for the arrival of Mardi Gras for weeks.

The celebration brings thousands of people to the streets of Soulard as well as thousands of dollars for restaurants. And for some bars, a successful Mardi Gras means a successful year.

Jason Paul who works at Hammerstones bar said although it’s hard work, the experience still makes for a good time.

“It’s a lot of fun, bittersweet because it’s a ton of work but [a] great time, great party … the whole experience,” Paul said.

Mardi Gras is not only a time for restaurants and bars to make money, but one man found a whole new way to benefit from it.

Even though there are Porta-Potties scattered throughout the city, lines can be very long so Darin Atkins came up with an idea – he rents out his bathroom for people to use.

“I like to open my doors for a group of people wanting to use my restroom. I charge them a fair rate [I] also give them tap water, reading material on the toilet and food they can find in my apartment. [It] is now theirs, its worked out well,” Atkins said.

Atkins said he can make up to $200 in bathroom fees.

Atkins said he uses a couple different tactics to get the word out and get customers.

“Kinda cold calls, walk around the Porta-Potties. Usually when people are moving their feet or swaying back and forth, those are the ones that really need to go and those are the ones I target. [I] say you can use my apartment, have a snack [and] take a little break,” he said.

Atkins said he got the idea for his open bathroom when he noticed that people at the front of the Porta-Potty lines were sometimes letting others take their place in line for a price. 

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