Sporting goods, marijuana drive Steamboat tax revenue for December | SteamboatToday.com

Sporting goods, marijuana drive Steamboat tax revenue for December

Ski Haus employee Greg Jansen helps, from left, Alexis Aquirre, Ann Ghent and Meg Ryan with snowshoeing gear Tuesday afternoon. The sporting goods store has seen improved sales this winter compared to previous years. (Photo by Derek Maiolo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The city of Steamboat Springs' sales tax revenue for December 2018 rose more than $200,000 dollars compared to collections a year ago. Tax revenue from sporting goods and marijuana drove the uptick, and local businesses in those industries have noticed the improved sales.

"It's definitely been busier here than the last couple of years," said Ben Brodsky, general manager at Ski Haus.

Brodsky attributed the spike in sales last month to better snow conditions, the rollout of the IKON Pass and a healthier economy.

The city collected about $3.4 million in sales tax in December 2018, up 7.05 percent from the same month in 2017, according to the city’s sales, use and accommodation tax report. That eclipses a 1.3 percent increase in sales tax revenue between December of 2017 and the same month in 2016.

Sue Davies, the city's budget and tax manager, said December is usually the busiest month for Steamboat businesses. Like Brodsky, she believes that snow conditions this season have brought more tourists to town compared to last winter, contributing to more sales for local businesses.

"We had very little snow going into the holidays," she said of the 2016-17 winter season.

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Sales tax from sporting goods increased 14.26 percent in December 2018 compared to the same month in 2017, the largest categorical increase measured by the city.

The increase in sales shows the resilience of local stores as more shoppers are choosing to buy online, a phenomenon that has become known as the "Amazon effect." Decreased sales at certain brick-and-mortar stores across the country contributed to the bankruptcy of Sports Authority, which closed its Steamboat location in 2016. It was one of the city's largest sporting good stores.

Marijuana dispensaries in Steamboat also noticed a bump in sales in December. Sales tax revenue from cannabis rose 12 percent compared to the same month in 2017, the second-largest categorical increase behind sporting goods.

That increase did not surprise Kevin Fisher, co-owner of Rocky Mountain Remedies. He said his business has invested heavily in new marijuana technologies, such as the first cartridge-based vaporizer, to attract more customers.

That has helped Rocky Mountain Remedies grow a loyal customer base among locals, as well as draw out-of-towners to the dispensary.

"We continue to see strong sales," Fisher said.

Davies anticipates the increase in sales tax revenue to continue through January, which joins December as two of Steamboat's busier months.

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email dmaiolo@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo

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