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Business booms

Holiday shopping season brings pleasant surprises for local store owners

Christine Metz

Leon Rinck was surprised early Saturday morning when, as soon as he opened his store, Treasure Tees, people were already through the doors and shopping.

After three or four weeks of bustling business, Rinck had thought Saturday might slow down, but the eager shoppers were just another indication of how busy his store and many others in Steamboat Springs have been this holiday season.

“It has been crazy,” Rinck said. “It was almost too busy at times, but that is a good problem to have.”

From tees to skis, storeowners reported that sales where brisk throughout the holiday season for Steamboat businesses.

Today marks the end of the holiday shopping season and the busiest time of year for most storeowners. Shop owners on Lincoln Avenue said sales had been strong, and many said business this holiday season was better than last year.

John Kole, owner of One Stop Ski Shop Ltd said that business for his store, which added a location at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue, was up compared with last year and was especially strong in ski rentals.

Rinck, who was cautiously optimistic heading into the holiday season, said that

sales were up from last December at his store, which sells Steamboat clothing.

“There are just lots of people here that seem to be spending quite a bit of money,” Rinck said.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s lodging barometer forecast 10,700 people in town for Jan 1. On Dec. 22, the lodging barometer forecast 10,600 visitors for Christmas Day and 13,900 people in town for Dec. 29.

Connie Lippold, manager of Bushwackers, said business at the clothing store was comparable to last year, and after Christmas, numbers were bolstered from the store’s sales promotions.

Jennifer Wilson, owner of the Moose Mountain Trading Company, said almost everything — sweaters, holiday dishware, scarves and candles — were hot items this season at her store on Lincoln Avenue. Wilson said business was up from last December and attributed it to the combination of second-home owners, loyal local shoppers, tourists in town and more business on the Internet.

“We had a great December,” Wilson said. “We are really pleased.”

Wilson also hoped that business would remain strong and pointed to next week’s lodging barometer that shows an expected 13,200 visitors in town by Saturday. The lodging barometer also showed 76 percent occupancy for Wednesday with 11,000 people in town.

“We are excited that it will still be busy for a while,” Wilson said.

Weather also seemed to help the retail business this week. Rain on Wednesday and high winds that caused the Steamboat Ski Area to shut down lifts for part of Thursday had people seeking another recreational pastime: shopping.

Rinck said his store’s best day of the season came Thursday, when the gondola shut down. Erica Fogue, owner of Epilogue Book Co., said that the season has been busy and that Wednesday’s rain brought customers into her store.

“Its unfortunate for the ski area, but a lot of people commented the only reason they were downtown shopping was because of the rain,” Fogue said.

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com


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