Steamboat Springs Not many downtown businesses were open Christmas Day, but the ones that were reported strong sales.
In fact, most Steamboat Springs businesses reported a strong holiday week, even those that weren’t open Sunday. Many even surpassed last year’s sales, when record early season snowfall led to a big ski season.
“The 24th was the best Christmas Eve day we’ve ever had,” said Zirkel Trading owner Steve Hitchcock, who attributed the day’s record sales to it falling on a Saturday when many locals were off work and finishing their holiday shopping.
But Hitchcock, whose shop wasn’t open Christmas Day, noted that sales at his men’s clothing store since the weekend before Thanksgiving exceeded the same period from a year ago.
Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare also reported record sales this holiday shopping season.
“Our sales for the Christmas week were a little bit better than last year,” said Ski & Bike Kare co-owner Harry Martin. “And last year was our best ever.”
Martin said Ski & Bike Kare always is open Christmas Day. But not all downtown businesses are.
Steamboat Shoe Market owner Rick Petet encouraged his neighboring business owners to stay open this Christmas and enlisted Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett to assist with the effort.
Barnett said many downtown business owners told her they weren’t open Sundays anyway, while others were adamant they never would open on Christmas Day. Barnett said others weren’t prepared to work on the holiday because they didn’t have staffing lined up in advance.
Because Christmas fell on a Sunday, Barnett said it would be hard to judge the success of this year’s effort to have more shopping options available, but she was encouraged by what she’s heard so far.
“For us it was terrific,” said Moose Mountain Trading Co. owner Jenny Wall. “I had a really nice time. It will definitely be something I will do again.”
Restaurants also reported good holiday weeks.
Old Town Pub bar manager Sean Regan said the weekend was busy, starting with Friday night. He said Saturday’s business tapered off but was brought back up Christmas Day.
“We were slammed right from the start,” said Regan, who added that Old Town Pub always is open Christmas. “We had a huge Christmas evening.”
With the exception of Christmas Day, Steamboat Smokehouse owner Fritz Aurin said his restaurant had a very good holiday week. This year was the second Christmas he was open.
“The weekend was a little bit weaker than we expected, but the week was good,” Aurin said. “Hopefully, the rest of the week is good.”
Many business owners expressed optimism for winter sales in spite of a lack of snow. They were encouraged by strong bookings — lodging occupancy was expected to be about 54 percent Saturday and increase to 84 percent Wednesday.
“I think with the lack of snow, it might make people shop and eat earlier, get out and about more instead of skiing all day,” said 8th Street Steakhouse owner Tim Pahula, who reported slightly better sales during Christmas week this year than last year.
Linda Petet, who owns Steamboat Shoe Market with her husband, Rick, said many customers were appreciative of the store being open on Christmas, its first time in 11 years of business. She said being open was worth it for their business and would likely be a tradition they continue.
“We were pleasantly surprised with how many people came in,” she said. “We hope in the future more businesses will try it and it will make the day that much stronger.”
To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or emailjweinstein@SteamboatToday.com