Steamboat Springs resident Ted Swain tries on a hat Friday while shopping at F.M. Light & Sons.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs resident Ted Swain tries on a hat Friday while shopping at F.M. Light & Sons.

Steamboat businesses look to revive campaign to stress local spending


— If you see people walking the streets of Steamboat this week wearing white buttons emblazoned with “I Shop Steamboat,” they’ve taken a pledge to do all or some of their holiday shopping in Steamboat Springs.

Buy Local: How shopping near your home keeps dollars in your community

Shop local events

■ Sweet Treats on Mainstreet, a chocolate tasting event, is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday participating stores. The event is organized by Mainstreet Steamboat Springs to coincide with Small Business Saturday, which is sponsored by American Express.

■ The South Routt Economic Development Council is sponsoring a contest to encourage residents to shop in South Routt. Participants who turn in their receipts totaling $100 spent at South Routt businesses will be eligible to win a one-night stay and dinner at The Steamboat Grand and two lift tickets at Steamboat Ski Area. The drawing will be held on New Year-s Eve at Circle R in Oak Creek.

The push for local shopping this holiday season is a partnership among the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Mountain Village Partnership and the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

It’s also part of a two-phase approach toward building awareness of how important local spending is to businesses in Routt County.

The Chamber’s board of directors made a local shopping campaign an objective for 2014, Chamber CEO Tom Kern said.

The direction was to revive and redesign a campaign that would stress to full-time and part-time residents why it’s important to buy locally.

The Chamber has decided to break that into two parts: holiday and year-round programs.

Pilot & Today Local Sales Manager Laura Tamucci said she decided to do all of her holiday shopping in Steamboat and found others wanted to do the same as she talked about the idea.

The I Shop Steamboat online pledge and coordinated campaign came out of that.

“I thought if we could get a large number of people to commit to shop locally, that would make a big impact for our businesses,” Tamucci wrote in an email. “We made the campaign fun with holiday-themed pictures of our celebrity shoppers because holiday shopping should ultimately be a fun experience.”

The Pilot & Today, Chamber and Mainstreet have partnered in the past on a local holiday shopping campaign, Tamucci wrote, and they had been discussing other options before settling on I Shop Steamboat.

Those who sign up at to shop locally are entered to win weekly prizes of Chamber Bucks and Downtown Dollars with a grand prize winner announced in December.

After the holiday program wraps up, the Chamber’s attention will turn toward developing a sustainable, long-term community awareness program to support local shopping.

The last local shopping campaign, which the Pilot & Today was involved in, dropped off as time passed and the effort behind it faded.

Kern said the Chamber has been tasked with figuring out a plan that would be sustainable for an extended period.

Mainstreet Manager Tracy Barnett said that the big push in the past was positive for local businesses and that establishing a year-round program would help during the offseason.

“When people buy locally, the revenue that purchase creates for a business owner stays in the community and recirculates,” Kern said.

Local purchasing, employee wages and owner profits are ways that money spent locally can find its way back into the community.

Shopping at businesses that pay local sales tax rather than spending online keeps more money in Steamboat, Kern said.

“None of those out-of-town sources contribute to our local economy,” Barnett said.

The most common definition of shopping locally tightens the scope to businesses that are owned or operated by people who live in Steamboat.

Profits from a chain business obviously head to its headquarters and the amount of local purchasing and giving likely is less, but chain stores employ people who live in Steamboat and pay local sales tax the same as businesses owned by Steamboat residents.

“I’d rather have someone choose to purchase things at Walmart in Steamboat than drive and purchase those things in another location,” Kern said.

The more residents and second-home owners can be educated about the positive impacts of spending locally, he said, it helps the community as a whole.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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Shannon Dillard 3 years, 6 months ago

I have had to go to Denver a couple of times in the last month and have purchased gas in Silverthorne at $.55 and $.56 less than what it was available for in Steamboat. At an average of 9000 gallons hauled/tanker truck that is nearly $5000 more customers in Steamboat pay to have one truck load of gas delivered. I don't believe it costs that much more in fuel and time to get it 90 miles from Silverthorne. This is just one example of overpricing in Steamboat. I try to buy locally but when I feel I am getting gouged I look for other alternatives.


George Hresko 3 years, 6 months ago


You are right; it doesn't. But there are added costs to sell gasoline in SS versus one of the larger stations in Silverthorne or Denver. Land cost here is likely greater. Station thruput is very likely much, much less, on average, than in those other locations. Construction of service stations here is likely more expensive too, for the same physical facilities, and probably pay here is greater than would be incurred in Denver, maybe also in Silverthorne. On the revenue side, those hi thruput stations likely also sell more add-ons than do the stations here.

And, while the Kum and Go in Silverthorne is priced as you described, did you happen to look at the price of the Shell station immediately at the exit of I-70 in Silverthorne?



walt jones 3 years, 6 months ago


Don't even get me started on the Shell station as you exit at Silverthorne. All that owner is doing is tacking on a convenience fee as the same distributor services the Shell on the other side of I-70 about 300yards away and that price is the same as Kum&Go on the edge of Silverthorne. Worst part is seeing how busy that Shell is at the exit makes me believe anybody who stops there doesn't care about gas prices and it's not high enough for them to look across the street so they get it socked to them rightly so!!


john bailey 3 years, 6 months ago

ya'lls MPG go down in the winter like mine? corn in my tank instead of on my plate......


walt jones 3 years, 6 months ago


yes mpg drops about 25% in winter for me, i believe its also the heavier/thicker gear oil. However got a few tanks of ethanol-free gas in Wyoming this summer and got about 20% better mpg than my normal summer time mpg.


George Hresko 3 years, 6 months ago

Gasoline is less dense in the winter because butane is added to improve ignition during low temperature periods--vaporizes at lower temperatures. Less density means lower heat content per gallon--we all are used to thinking in terms of fuel efficiency per a volume rather than per a mass measure.


john bailey 3 years, 6 months ago

where do you buy your gas in mass measure? interesting info George , now explain why they do this ,please , new cars newer motors , no really seriously.


George Hresko 3 years, 6 months ago


Not sure of your question--if about butane, gasoline in tank is cold, needs to vaporize a bit to ignite. FI probably helps, but for carbureted engines, cold means less vaporization--butane vaporizes more easily. If question is in re mass measure, probably if you buy a shipload then you can buy gasoline by weight. For gasoline, diesel, volume sales been practice probably due to types of measurements available--trucks tanks, etc. For fuel oil, usual measure is weight.


Scott Wedel 3 years, 6 months ago

I find "Shop Steamboat" to be deeply hypocritical when promoted by the same people that hire outside consultants. If our leading organizations are not willing to hire local then why should the public shop local?


jerry carlton 3 years, 6 months ago

Another thing I agree with oz on.

George So we should not fill up in Silverthorne on the way back to Steamboat? Kum & Go is not the least expensive gas most of the time. Independent on the same side of street that I can not remember the name of at my advanced age. I doubt that the cost of real estate is any cheaper in Summit county than Steamboat Lack of real competition is the reason for high gas prices in Steamboat. Gas taxes in Wyoming are appreciably lower than Colorado so it will always be cheaper in Wyoming. Pay for one cashier collecting money is going to make a neglible difference in costs.


George Hresko 3 years, 6 months ago

Jerry-Of course top up in Silverthorne on the way back, assuming you filled at Costco-Wadsworth first!!!!! Not sure what you mean by lack of competition in SS. I count 7 outlets along Lincoln. Yes, payroll is not the major factor--thruput volume is. Yes, Wyoming taxes are much lower. What is the Summit County / Silverthorne sales tax rate vs SS?


Thomss Steele 3 years, 5 months ago

My family always tries to shop local but my god have you seen the prices?!?! Try buying a pair of boots on Lincoln... They are 40% cheaper online. We all want to support our neighbors but many times we just can't. No amount of button wearing folks will change that fact.


Thomss Steele 3 years, 5 months ago

Pilot please respond to Scotts assertion. Why did you outsource the website design?


john bailey 3 years, 5 months ago

finally , people are opening their eyes, go ahead , look behind the curtain.....


jerry carlton 3 years, 5 months ago

George, Sales tax makes no difference in price of gasoline. Does not apply. When I say no competition, there is an established pecking order in the stations which rarely changes. Cheapest is the one with the dinosaur out front. .03 cents cheaper than the city market affiliated convience store. Swipe your city market card and it matches the dinosaur price. Buy 10 gallons only at ski house and you get a ski house buck, equivalent to a .10 cent per gallon discount. Once in a while that makes them the cheapest but you have to spend the buck at the ski house or in the ski house convience store so it is not a cash savings. Only way to get a real break ts to rack up gas points at city market. Everybody else is straight up from these three. There is nobody in town that will be 10 cents or 15 cents cheaper than everybody else like you will find in metropolitan areas. That is what I mean by no competition. Did not say collusion or price fixing. This is just the way it is in a small market with a very limited number of suppliers.


George Hresko 3 years, 5 months ago

Jerry-Thanks on the sales tax. On the other issues, I believe all sellers in town are likely tied to a price for truckload sales in the Denver area--i.e. rack sale of full truck load. There might be a little difference among the buyers, but not anything like 10 or 15 cpg. IOW there is no benefit to the refiner to sell to one marketer at a lower price than to another, even to his own marketing arm. If the marketer is obtaining their product from the refiner via an exchange then perhaps the marketer may use an imputed cost of the product ex a refinery somewhere else. But that would mean that the company is choosing to subsidize a marketer in an area remote from their own refinery. Transportation costs for a full truckload do not vary among the companies by much either. So, in the SS market, the volume doesn't exist for someone to have the kind of volume that would afford a price reduction as we see for example at Costco, even if they sold at no mark-up, which they clearly cannot afford to do here, but which Costco can. My guess (I don't have actual volumes for service stations here) is that the average station in Routt County receives1 or maybe 2 truckloads of fuel a week where a high volume station in the metro area gets one or more daily.


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