Holiday shopping pattern for Steamboat Springs businesses proves atypical

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— The pattern was different this holiday season for Steamboat Springs businesses. Whether it was the delayed snowfall or the days of the week on which holidays fell, the shopping season was turned on its head.

Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said she heard from business owners who said the weekend after Thanksgiving especially was good, but the momentum petered out into December before picking up again Christmas Eve.

The third week of December, which businesses typically build toward with holiday shopping, didn’t live up to expectations. And some business owners, Barnett said, reported losing all the ground they made right after Thanksgiving.

But the snow came, and with it arrived Christmas visitors.

Ron Krall, owner of Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, said his downtown shop started the season strong after Thanksgiving but expected to do better last weekend.

With the exception of Christmas Eve, which was great, he said, sales were soft this past week.

“We’ll probably end up just about the same as last year,” Krall said. “We hoped to do quite a bit better.”

But, Krall said, there still is this weekend and New Year's to go, and the visitors who were in town had good things to say about Steamboat and his store.

“People who came into our store were happy and pleased with what they found in Steamboat,” he said.

Jan Lomas, of the Artisans Market of Steamboat, also said Christmas Eve was great for business — the best ever for the downtown shop.

This year, Lomas said, second-home owners seemed to show up all at once, coming through the store the weekend before Christmas.

The abundance of snow on the ground definitely had people in good moods, she said.

The lack of snow at the beginning of December had the outlook for reservations looking down and snow-related business experiencing a lull.

“I think lot of locals were wondering if we were in for a repeat winter,” said Murray Selleck, a manager at Ski Haus, referencing 2011’s low snowfall.

But now that Steamboat Ski Area has had nearly 100 inches of snow at midmountain this month, Selleck said the store is busy, and it's “all employees on deck.”

Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare Office Manager Sierra Lovejoy said business at the downtown shop really picked up along with the snow.

After a couple of slow weeks, Lovejoy said, the store was busy the week before Christmas.

Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare historically is open Christmas Day, and Lovejoy said it was a big day for the store even though it was open only from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This weekend is shaping up to be a busy one for Steamboat, with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s lodging barometer predicting 13,500 guests, or enough to fill 91 percent of the resort’s lodging base. And more could trickle in on top of that number.

Last weekend, the lodging barometer forecast 7,300 guests and 7,700 showed up.

And starting Jan. 5, MusicFest comes to Steamboat, bringing with it even more guests.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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