Chamber CEO: December in Steamboat Springs |

Chamber CEO: December in Steamboat Springs

Floats drive down Lincoln Avenue during the Merry Mainstreet holiday celebration in 2010 in downtown Steamboat Springs.

With the turkey leftovers likely gone by now, we are looking to December in Steamboat Springs. When I think about the beginning of the winter season, two important elements come to mind.

First, buy local, buy local, buy local. I spent Saturday after Thanksgiving downtown getting a jump on my holiday shopping. I had a few things in mind but happened upon so many wonderful gifts for family and friends. I found a gift for one of the hardest people to shop for in my family at Ohana. I enjoyed a delicious latte at Off the Beaten Path while picking up books and then a glass of Champagne at Fringe while getting myself a little something. I had a fantastic and productive snowy afternoon shopping local.

I encourage you to pop into shops throughout town before perusing the internet. There are wonderful experiences to be had when you shop local. While shopping, I ran into friends and colleagues that I hadn’t see in a bit, and I actually had a few minutes to stop and chat.

I discovered new shops and new treasures at my favorite, tried and true stops. Supporting local businesses provides opportunities to connect with your community while taking in the beauty of our town.

There is a significant economic impact when you buy local. Keeping money in our community means more jobs and more funding for schools, recreation and other public services. Also, when businesses are successful through people buying local, they are able to give more to local nonprofits.

To provide more encouragement to support our local economy, Steamboat Springs Chamber and Steamboat Pilot & Today have partnered again this year on a shop local campaign that includes the 12 Days of Steamboat and Pledge to Shop Local campaigns. Visit to pledge to do some or all of your holiday shopping locally, and you will be entered to win one of four Chamber gift cards.

Second, December in Steamboat is also when we start welcoming our winter guests to town. People will travel to Steamboat from around the world to experience our little winter wonderland this ski season. Now and throughout the winter, remember what guests provide for this community.

Guests support local businesses enabling them to not only sustain but grow. They spend money at restaurants and retailers as well as on lodging, all of which is taxed. Those tax dollars enable the city of Steamboat Springs to provide services such as police and fire, parks and recreation, road maintenance and transit.

People have so many options when deciding where to spend their hard-earned money for a vacation. Steamboat is unique for many reasons, but one in particular is the welcoming feeling people get when they are here. We as a community need to carry on the Western hospitality tradition, not only to keep Steamboat unique but to continue to treat each other with kindness in a world of strife.

James Crawford, Steamboat Springs town founder, and his family were known to always have an open door and a seat available at their table. How will you carry on the Crawford legacy this winter?

Kara Stoller is the CEO of Steamboat Springs Chamber.

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