Beaver Creek businesses close successful year |

Beaver Creek businesses close successful year

NWS BC Biz 1 KA 4-16-11

BEAVER CREEK – Nancy Dowell saw some old friends over the ski season – she’d missed them for a season or two.

Since 1993, Dowell has been the co-owner of the Grouse Mountain Grill at Beaver Creek, so she knows the local business scene pretty well. Last season was a tough one, of course – when people did come for dinner, they’d skip the wine or order lower-priced selections. This season was different.

“Not only did they order wine, but they ordered nice bottles,” Dowell said. “And we saw some people coming back more than once during their stay.”

Dowell’s experience was fairly typical at Beaver Creek this season. While no one is saying the go-go days are back, there seems to be more confidence at the end of this season.

Jim Cotter, owner of the J Cotter Galleries in Vail and Beaver Creek, said business was good in Vail and solid in Beaver Creek.

“We were up from last season, although I don’t know how much yet,” Cotter said. “But we sold a little bit more art.”

Some of that art was pretty expensive, Cotter said. Other buyers picked out mid-priced work who might have been shopping the lower-priced items last year, he said.

The Beaver Creek Market moved from the plaza to St. James Place at the beginning of the season. Store manager Andrew Edwards said the move had an effect, although there were signs posted and hotel concierges were told, too.

Still, the store had a good winter season, Edwards said.

“It was strong from January through March,” he said.

April was a different story for some people, the result of spring break and Easter being nearly a month apart this year.

Still, Beaver Creek was open a week longer than it was last year.

“I’m glad they stayed open that extra week,” said Scott Gubrud, of the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek. “I’d rather have 30 percent of something than 100 percent of nothing.”

Gubrud said the Hyatt was actually pretty busy last season. This season was a little better, helped in part by last week’s Mountain Travel Symposium, which brought several hundred people to a weeklong convention.

But, like the Grouse Mountain Grill, the people who came to play seemed to be a little more willing to spend on extras such as spa treatments and room service.

Before taking off for a spring break trip with his family, Rocks Modern Grill General Manager Jim Lay said the restaurant, and the Beaver Creek Lodge, were “really popular” this season.

“We were up substantially this year,” Lay said. Better yet, guests at Rocks also were more willing to spend a little more.

“But we also offered a more diverse menu,” Lay said. “We’d have tables where one person would order a burger and another would have a rack of lamb.”

If guests’ moods seemed a little brighter this season, it’s a good guess that plentiful snow helped.

“We didn’t have to worry about the weather this season,” Dowell said.

And, while the boom years are still a memory, this season’s success has many people eager to see what summer brings.

“We’re kind of crawling our way back up,” Dowell said. “And we’re hoping for the best this summer.”

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